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This paper compares popular client and server architectures used for groupware. It presents a client framework and evaluates native, installed clients, Java-based applications, and Web-based architectures. It also presents a server framework and evaluates databases, thin servers, application servers, and a custom collaborative server. Lessons learned are provided for each architecture. Native and Java-based clients provide highly-interactive, rich interfaces for groupware. Web-based client applications are simpler and seem the best solution if significant interactivity is not required. Databases and application servers enjoy robust and efficient data storage but do not provide groupware features such as messaging and push updates. Thin servers add these collaborative services but are not full solutions. A custom, collaborative server is presented that provides a truly collaborative platform for application development.
Date of Conference: 6-9 Jan. 2003