So… What’s best, being Thin or being Fat?

As native mobile apps continue to remain in the spotlight of computing, the question of Enterprise applications and their associated data raises interesting questions of where data should be munged.

Take SharePoint data for example – from an Enterprise perspective there is a lot of value tied up in documents, lists, pictures, and shared documents to be made available on mobile phones for use in the field.

There are two approaches, one, lets call first generation (thick client) and one we’ll call second generation (thin client). The first roughly maps to client/server architecture with a “thick” client and the second roughly maps to the ubiquitous web browser/app-server paradigm.

Thick clients parse data on the device and thin clients rely on the server for business-logic and processing.

With a mobile middleware gateway, you can save resources on the phone and munge data on the server side, moving the compute cycles from the smart-device to the server-side. With a thick client model you have to face mobile phone SDK fragmentation and munge your data on a constrained device.

So, what’s better, being thin or being fat?

Blake

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