Let’s face it people, if you can deliver your product in HTML without compromising on UI/UX then … you should !!!
HTML is the ultimate cross platform technology, and that’s the sad truth.
I still do believe that Silverlight has a large part to play both on the web and on the desktop BUT I admit HTML5 is starting to look good for delivering simple Line of Business applications.
What I wanted to do today is discuss something interesting that I’ve been watching unfold, and that is the story of Microsoft Data Explorer.
The reason I am watching this project very closely is that it could be a sign of the future direction of Microsoft products. Bare in mind thou it is only a beta/labs project.
What’s I find interesting in this product is this
- it is a web application hosted on azure as a service
- it has a desktop, offline and connected, implementation of the application
- Both 1 & 2 look almost identical in functionality
- They appear to be aimed at a Metro style app world, that is they look like prime candidates for a future “metro style app”
- They are what I would categorize as “Line of Business” apps
- They are part of the SQL Azure family
- The UI technology behind the app is HTML based
- Considerable size Microsoft project that I would consider as embodying Microsoft’s future vision for apps.
All of these things interest me because this app could be a window into the mind of Microsoft and it’s architects. An idea of how they plan to build the next decade style LOB apps that cross desktop & metro, cloud and offline, and possibly across devices.
So let’s see how the desktop client of this product works
The install can be found here, it’s early beta BUT public. I encourage you to go forth and install it and see for yourselves how all this hangs together.
It installs in the “Program Files” folder
It has an entry point known as “ClientApp”
Now this is where it gets very interesting … This is a quick analysis of the architecture of this desktop app..
It’s a Win32 app that runs
- Forms that host WebBrowsers
Basically it is a desktop app that is a local webserver serving up webcontent..
Now that is an interesting approach, imagine taking your HTML Metro Apps and having that exact codebase running on the desktop within these local webclients ..
What’s more is this local WebClient is a ASP.NET host .. yes it hosts asp.net content
This is a rendered screen and the parts that make up the screen..
The root folder that the app is installed at is what is loaded into the “client website”
It consists of css , js & views (which are just ASP.NET content)
And the “BIN” folder contains the executable’s and the binaries that make the desktop client run ..
Will this architecture work in the big wide world with firewalls and port rules on local systems?!
But the idea of taking your metro style app , html ones, and having them run as is on the desktop using a similar architecture is a pretty awesome idea no ?!
I know of other Microsoft products that are going HTML and are more than likely going to follow a similar architecture.
Anyway I thought I’d share this with you, I actually like the approach BUT I have to admit the performance of this desktop app is very slow, I haven’t analysed the reasons for this as I would have expected it to be much faster running as a local web hosted application .. but go figure …
Bottom line is I like what I see … interesting times ahead in the HTML world
… now back to my forever favourite technology Silverlight !!!!