Before "distributed object computing" became widely accepted as an application architecture, we worked on a framework for remote wireless clients that exhibited many of the same properties as today's n-tier distributed applications:

  • Thin client
    Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are small handheld computers with touch-sensitive screens that allow for pen-based input. While it is possible to develop PDA applications with business logic, their limited computing power lends them towards presentation applications for viewing and gathering data, which is processed by a server that contains extensive business logic to respond to business events.

  • Narrow bandwidth
    Wireless networks of all types, even new digital ones, provide a very restricted amount of throughput when compared to conventional local area networks (LANs). This places severe constraints on application architecture and partitioning of functionality among the various tiers of a multitier application.

  • Asynchronous communication
    Due to the uncertainty of maintaining a connection, wireless clients communicate with servers through well-defined transactions, where the client submits a query or command and then waits for the result. This same strategy is now being used for web-based applications in order to provide scalability for many clients, where each client is involved in a sequence of many brief connections, rather than holding onto one open session for a long period of time.

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