By: aathishankaran in Java Tutorials on 2007-02-22
Update: Java EE, which was previously called J2EE, is no longer in active development as of 2018.
A J2EE client can be a Web client or an application client. Now we will see about both web client and application client in this article.
A Web client consists of two parts: dynamic Web pages containing various types of markup language (HTML, XML, and so on), which are generated by Web components running in the Web tier, and a Web browser, which renders the pages received from the server.
A Web client is sometimes called a thin client. Thin clients usually do not do things like query databases, execute complex business rules, or connect to legacy applications. When you use a thin client, heavyweight operations like these are off-loaded to enterprise beans executing on the J2EE server where they can leverage the security, speed, services, and reliability of J2EE server-side technologies.
A Web page received from the Web tier can include an embedded applet. An applet is a small client application written in the Java programming language that executes in the Java virtual machine installed in the Web browser. However, client systems will likely need the Java Plug-in and possibly a security policy file in order for the applet to successfully execute in the Web browser.
Web components are the preferred API for creating a Web client program because no plug-ins or security policy files are needed on the client systems. Also, Web components enable cleaner and more modular application design because they provide a way to separate applications programming from Web page design. Personnel involved in Web page design thus do not need to understand Java programming language syntax to do their jobs.
A J2EE application client runs on a client machine and provides a way for users to handle tasks that require a richer user interface than can be provided by a markup language. It typically has a graphical user interface (GUI) created from Swing or Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT) APIs, but a command-line interface is certainly possible.
Application clients directly access enterprise beans running in the business tier. However, if application requirements warrant it, a J2EE application client can open an HTTP connection to establish communication with a servlet running in the Web tier.
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