Client Application Development

Client Application Development

Client applications are the closest to a traditional style of application in Windows-based programming. These are the types of applications that display windows or forms on the desktop, enabling a user to perform a task. Client applications include applications such as word processors and spreadsheets, as well as custom business applications such as data-entry tools, reporting tools, and so on. Client applications usually employ windows, menus, buttons, and other GUI elements, and they likely access local resources such as the file system and peripherals such as printers.

Another kind of client application is the traditional ActiveX control (now replaced by the managed Windows Forms control) deployed over the Internet as a Web page. This application is much like other client applications: it is executed natively, has access to local resources, and includes graphical elements.

In the past, developers created such applications using C/C++ in conjunction with the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) or with a rapid application development (RAD) environment such as Microsoft® Visual Basic®. The .NET Framework incorporates aspects of these existing products into a single, consistent development environment that drastically simplifies the development of client applications.

The Windows Forms classes contained in the .NET Framework are designed to be used for GUI development. You can easily create command windows, buttons, menus, toolbars, and other screen elements with the flexibility necessary to accommodate shifting business needs.

For example, the .NET Framework provides simple properties to adjust visual attributes associated with forms. In some cases the underlying operating system does not support changing these attributes directly, and in these cases the .NET Framework automatically recreates the forms. This is one of many ways in which the .NET Framework integrates the developer interface, making coding simpler and more consistent.

Unlike ActiveX controls, Windows Forms controls have semi-trusted access to a user’s computer. This means that binary or natively executing code can access some of the resources on the user’s system (such as GUI elements and limited file access) without being able to access or compromise other resources. Because of code access security, many applications that once needed to be installed on a user’s system can now be deployed through the Web. Your applications can implement the features of a local application while being deployed like a Web page.

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