Droplets boost server-side graphic rendering

[February 4, 2003 - ADT's Programmers Report] - The old saying that people can never be too rich or too thin might apply to the development and deployment software of Droplets Inc., which markets technology for creating 'rich, thin client' systems. To do this, the company puts specialized presentation logic and rendering algorithms on the mid-tier server.

Faced with a choice between client/server and Web-based applications, enterprises are increasingly seeking the proverbial best of both worlds, according to Philip Brittan, who helped found Droplets in March 2000 and is its president and CEO. The company arose out of the hotbed of Java application development that was Wall Street in New York City during the 1990s.

''We've created a technology based on industry standards that allows developers to capture the best aspects of both of those deployment methods,'' explained Brittan. ''A Droplet application is 100% server-based. The application is deployed on a server, the code runs on the server, and it projects a thin client over a network and onto an end user's PC desktop. It can also go into a Web browser and be accessed as part of a corporate portal or Web page, or it can be projected onto any Java-enabled wireless device.''

With Droplets, the only software on the client is an icon link to the server, according to Brittan. But unlike a Web browser application, Droplets provides the end user with the real-time functionality, performance and look-and-feel of a Windows desktop-based program, he added.

''We're very, very lightweight in terms of network bandwidth and client-side resources,'' he said. ''We use only one-tenth the bandwidth of an HTML app, and one one-hundredth of the bandwidth of a terminal server-type app.''

Droplets applications can be written in either Java or C++ and integrate with standard IDEs, according to Brittan. He said his company has a relationship with Borland, which currently ships Droplets with JBuilder.

As an example of a Droplets deployment, he pointed to Samsung SDI, the Korea-based manufacturer of television monitors and PC displays, which is in the process of migrating its factory monitoring and control system from fat client PCs.

''As we're increasingly seeing, Samsung SDI did not want to move to a Web-based application because they would have to completely redesign the ergonomics of the application and give up a lot of functionality,'' Brittan said.

Samsung SDI selected the Droplets platform for its migration to an intranet-based system, scheduled to roll out in March, Brittan said. The monitoring and control application will be maintained on servers in the Samsung SDI IT center and be available to PCs and wireless devices at its factories around the world, he explained.

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Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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