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Moonwalka

Web Browser in place of windows programming?

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Is it possibly (feasible) to make a web browser-based interactive application using PHP and Java that: * Is compatible for most browsers * Shows up as "C:\Program Files\My Game.php" in the address window * Has the same (or close) interactive capabilities as a windows-based C++ client program? * Has the ability to communicate with another web-based server program across a network If so, what new challenges/difficulties would one expect to face? If not, why? Is this done often? My initial thoughts all conclude that this would be a great way to save time on development overhead for things like UI and windows programming. Also do you all think it would be legal to sell the client program, as it uses the web browser as its "parent" window program? Oh well just some food for thought. ;-)

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* Is compatible for most browsers
Yes.

* Shows up as "C:\Program Files\My Game.php" in the address window
Yes, though if it''s not actually at that location this is unethical.

* Has the same (or close) interactive capabilities as a windows-based C++ client program?
Not really. There are limitations to the browser platform.

* Has the ability to communicate with another web-based server program across a network
Yes.

If so, what new challenges/difficulties would one expect to face?
See next paragraph.

Is this done often?
No. Why? Because browsers are built around a model and transmission protocol that values reliable delivery over timeliness. Java breaks out of that somewhat by being able to establish and maintain its own socket connections, but it''s boxed in by the VM and security settings.

My initial thoughts all conclude that this would be a great way to save time on development overhead for things like UI and windows programming.
Hardly. HTML is a horrible technology, and creating a consistent UI across browsers even on the same platform is a hassle.

Also do you all think it would be legal to sell the client program...?
Yes.

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
* Shows up as "C:\Program Files\My Game.php" in the address window
Yes, though if it''s not actually at that location this is unethical.


There was recently a flaw in IE which would allow something like this. It''s been patched. Still, don''t do it. If you want to hide the location, consider using javascript to launch a window without the address bar.

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quote:
Original post by Moonwalka
Is it possibly (feasible) to make a web browser-based interactive application using PHP and Java that:

* Is compatible for most browsers



If it''s a simple application, this is rarely difficult to achieve. However don''t expect it for a game.

quote:

* Shows up as "C:\Program Files\My Game.php" in the address window



See previous poster''s response.

quote:

* Has the same (or close) interactive capabilities as a windows-based C++ client program?



Could be more difficult. In particular, don''t expect UI performance close to what a C++ client program could produce, w.r.t rendering and stuff (assuming it''s a game).

With Javascript / html, you can only do relatively simple things in a vaguely sane fashion. It might work quite well for a game of cards, or a turn-based board game. But don''t try Quake.

Of course, I realise that about 5 years ago a demo group call "The Care Bears" did re-code the Quake engine in a Java applet, and it was quite fast (YES! Really!), but they are totally insane

quote:

* Has the ability to communicate with another web-based server program across a network



Web applications which run stuff client side are not best placed to do network IO. Java applets can do it, but Javascript applications don''t have any cross-browser way of doing server-based calls. You can fudge it using tiny frames and such like, but it isn''t nice. Or you can use the IE-Specific (/ Mozilla-specific) XML rpc classes. Again, these are specific to these two browsers (although they do similar things).

quote:

If so, what new challenges/difficulties would one expect to face?


There are a lot, but they won''t be insurmountable.

quote:
Is this done often? My initial thoughts all conclude that this would be a great way to save time on development overhead for things like UI and windows programming.



There are pros and cons. It is a lot easier to write HTML (or XUL, etc) than to make a windows app. On the other hand, you get behaviour which is undesirable sometimes.

A lot of companies use IE as a front-end for their apps, either embedding it or using HTA (and IE front-end provided with IE which runs the HTML control off a specially formatted file). Unfortunately, they usually produce shockingly bad UIs out of it (Zonealarm, Norton AV, etc)

quote:

Also do you all think it would be legal to sell the client program, as it uses the web browser as its "parent" window program?



Totally. It works for Symantec and Zone Labs (see above).

Mark

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