Smart Clients is a concept (not technology) of a Rich Internet enabled application. You can think of it as hybrid of thick & thin clients providing best of both worlds. Smart client applications provide richest user experience, intuitive/easier navigation, greater performance & throughput, leverage local computing horsepower, provide access to full keyboard (shortcuts), faciliate fast data-entry, provides easier/seamless integration with devices & local desktop applications (Office, LOB apps, etc), consume web-services (internet enabled), and can be designed to function in connected and disconnected/offline scenarios and still offer seamless/transparent deployment (main reason behind the adoption of web applications). Microsoft Smart Client solutions/applications may comprise one or more than one of these technologies (Windows Forms, InfoPath; XML Based Form Designer, Visual Studio Tools for Office, .NET Compact Framework based apps running on mobile devices). WinForms is the primary technology for building smart client applications/solutions, but other technologies may come into picture based on use case scenario, end-users and device selection.you Please note that you can embed web/browser based applications in smart client shell, so you are not giving up on either technology.
Here is more information.
- Smart Clients Defined – http://msdn.microsoft.com/smartclient/understanding/definition/
- Microsoft released smart client architecture and design guide (available on-line & book format) approximately 1-2 years ago. http://msdn.microsoft.com/smartclient/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dnpag/html/scag.asp
- Microsoft also has come up with reusable building block (Composite Application Block). This would allow organizations to build smart client shell applications that can host pluggable and customizable parts. Composite user interfaces in smart client applications are a powerful alternative to web-based portals. Read more at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/dnpag2/html/cabctp.asp
- Visual Studio 2005 includes new technology “ClickOnce” to make deployment of smart clients much easier. http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/issues/04/05/ClickOnce/default.aspx
- Choosing Presentation Layer & Dell Case Study
- Couple of web-sites dedicated to smart clients http://msdn.microsoft.com/smartclient/ & www.windowsforms.net