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local Tomcat install to provide web-based version of standalone app

 
Stephen Huey
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I think I have a solution to a problem, and I just want to see if anyone has thoughts or concerns that I may need to address. Basically, users will be interacting with my machines in a limited manner, and I want the simple interface to be web browser-based, but I need some functionality that is generally only available in a standalone app (e.g. filesystem access and I don't want to use an applet). In other words, I don't want the user to have to use a standard file-save dialog (I want the app to more automatically handle some of those things).

So anyway, I think I can get everything I want by installing Tomcat on each machine, because the server code will have filesystem access, etc. The webpage the user sees can be updated from the local Tomcat server via AJAX to show file transfer progress, etc, and instead of using a standard file save dialog, I could show whatever kind of abstracted file transfer interface I want through AJAX.

I'm going to try to code a rough implementation soon, but I'd like to hear from you if you see any mistaken assumptions I might have (or foresee any other difficulties I might encounter with this strategy). Thanks so much...
 
Ben Souther
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If they have to install Java, Tomcat, and your app, what's the benefit of building it as a web app?
Why not build it with Swing or SWT?
 
Stephen Huey
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They don't have to install anything. We have full control of the machines, and users only have limited interaction with them. The UI designer has decent skills making pretty visuals with webpages, and I know more Java web development than I do Swing. We're also leaning towards Linux, and it seems like remote management of Tomcat might be fairly hassle free. Plus, it is possible to lock down a web browser fairly well to keep users messing with the machine in ways they shouldn't. I don't have anything against a standalone app, but this web-based approach should work well, right? We'd also have the option to display remote webpages in the same browser window (and that will most likely be necessary). We could also consider putting a browser window in a standalone app, but I'm not sure if we would benefit from that approach.
[ November 16, 2007: Message edited by: Stephen Huey ]
 
Craig Jackson
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What about maintainability of these machines?

It seems it would be difficult to keep current and future revisions in sync.

How are you going to handle if one or more local servers go down.
 
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