Home > Background and Structural > Log of the disambiguator… (volume 1)

Log of the disambiguator… (volume 1)

Today the disambiguator started reading my blog.  He/she (I can’t really tell) grumbled something about “stupid software jargon” and the grabbed my laptop.  Below are its writings.  I am labeling this as volume 1 because I have a feeling it will be back…

from the lair of the disambiguator…


Craig is concerned about software things, consequently he uses many software terms.  To disambiguate something means to determine its intended meaning.  It comes from linguistics and was adopted by computer science.  This document will be a place for me to clarify how he uses terms.

I like the being called the disambiguator because it sounds complicated and obscure.  You can call me the dissa.  Ironically, I want to make things simple and clear.  I think it makes a nice contrast.

Disambiguator Definition | Definition of Disambiguator at Dictionary.com

Client application

A software program which makes requests of another software program which fulfills those requests.  Usually the other software application is running on a remote server.  In terms of the user experience, a client application provides the interface (GUI) for a user to interact with. In terms of networking applications, a client application is the one making a request.

Specific types: Fat client, thin client
Synonyms: graphical user interface (GUI), user interface (UI)
Compare vs: Server application
Used with: client/server application, 2/3/n-tiered application, user experience (UX)
Examples:

  • Apple iTunes Store uses a thin client application that runs in a web browser
  • When using a central Geodatabase, ArcView functions as a fat client for this data

Client/server application

“Client/server describes the relationship between two computer programs in which one program, the client, makes a service request from another program, the server, which fulfills the request. Although the client/server idea can be used by programs within a single computer, it is a more important idea in a network.” – What is client/server? – Definition from Whatis.com

I have heard many people describe client/server as a “normal application” (like excel or visio) which pulls information from a server.  This description implies a fat client application where the local software application does most of the work.  The server is only there to fulfill requests.  Contrast this with a thin client application where the server does most of the work and the local software application merely directs the server’s actions.

When I use the term, I will be using the broader sense of it.  I intend the term client/server to mean any client server arrangement in which one software program makes a request of another program which fulfills that request.

Specific types: fat client, thin client, networking
Synonyms: fat client application, 2-tier application, peer-to-peer application (rare to hear thin client called C/S)
Compare vs: thin client application, 3/n-tiered application, web-application
Used with: client application, server application, database application
Reference: Client-server – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Reference: What is client/server? – Definition from Whatis.com
Examples:

  • Your online banking application is client/server.  In this application a thin client application runs in your web browser.  This client application accesses a server application across the internet.  It is this server application that does the actual work as it is directed by the client application.

Until next time,

the dissa

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