17.6 Client/Server Applications - Myths, Legends and Expectations

While the concept of client/server applications is no longer new, there is still a high level of unreal expectation from these applications. To avoid becoming a failed client/server statistic, it is recommended that you always keep, in the back of your mind, 3 of the greater myths of the 20th century:

The last two points need some elaboration:

EIS (Executive Information Systems)

Everybody has seen the demonstration. The executive clicks on an icon and 2 seconds later a pan-dimensional chart of product sales, grouped by category, is shown, year to date, for the last 25 years. The graph is then used at the next board meeting and the executive receives much acclaim.

While every MIS department would like to provide this type of facility to their executives, without understanding and planning for some of the basic EIS requirements it will remain exactly what it is, a fairy story.

Unless you have planned, architected and designed EIS information into your database you will not be able to create results like this within reasonable time frames.

In other words, the previously mentioned EIS scenario may well be possible, but if you keep 300,000 rows of product line item information it may well take 90 minutes to extract and summarize the information required for the pan-dimensional graph. And, even worse, if the executive does not know the significance of the "Record Deleted (Y/N)" column in the database table, all he/she may receive at the next board meeting is severe embarrassment.

Some things you may care to think about:

Data throughput

This is really an extension of the previous point.

Don't go into client/server with unrealistic expectations.

You may design an application that "sucks up" 6,000 table rows into a spread sheet on your PC and then summarizes and sorts them.

However, you should then ask yourself some questions like these:

There seems to be some sort of belief in some sections of the market that client/server applications work by magic. For instance:

To Summarize: