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Select a question below for answers to frequently asked questions about Droplets.

What is included in the Droplets SDK package?

What Operating Systems does the Droplets SDK support?

Why do I need a server-based User Interface?

Why not a Web-based User Interface?

Does Droplets support JBuilder, Forte and other standard development tools?

I have a Web UI. Should I port it to Droplets?

Why use Droplets instead of a Swing fat client?

How do Droplets work with Web pages?

How do I embed a Droplet in a Web page?

How do Droplets work with Enterprise Java Beans?

How do Droplets work with Web services?

How scalable is Droplets?

Why use Droplets instead of Applets?

Why are Droplets many times faster than HTML?

How does Droplets work behind firewalls?

Is there support for security and encryption?

Also, visit Droplets Developer Forums to share questions and experiences with other Droplets developers and Droplets Support staff.

What is included in the Droplets SDK package?
The Droplets SDK includes a Droplets Server that will serve a maximum of 20 simultaneous connections. The SDK features full libraries for Java and C++, as well as sample code and extensive documentation to help developers start creating and serving Droplets immediately. Also included are utilities to help with system integration and deployment.

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What Operating Systems does the Droplets SDK support?
Windows 95 through XP and Solaris 8. Linux server and client coming soon.

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Why do I need a server-based User Interface?
Server-side GUIs result in tremendous cost savings, and allow a mobile workforce to access their applications and files from any computer or connected device in the world with zero download. A recent IDC study estimated that administering client-side code costs American businesses approximately $500 million per year ($2700 per workstation). Thin-client GUIs mean that you don't have to manually upgrade each user's machine, and you don't have to account for legacy client behavior in the application logic. And accessing your remote GUI from any Internet-connected device creates a tremendous amount of flexibility for the enterprise, worker and customer.

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Why not a Web-based User Interface?
Web-based UIs present a number of development and ongoing cost issues. The development effort for Web interfaces can be very expensive, and require as many as four different skill sets (for example, HTML, VBScript, ASP and C++). And, the resulting application isn't always particularly compelling ‹ contorted Web pages that are not especially intuitive to use, are not interactive in real-time and cannot replicate the functionality of a fat client interface written with a GUI toolkit. Further, the verbose HTML language and page refresh/reload for simple UI updates can drive up enormous bandwidth requirements and cost. Droplets, by contrast, allow you to write your entire application in a single language (either Java or C++) with an AWT and Swing-based GUI Toolkit, and present GUIs with all the real-time interactivity and ease-of-use of local software GUIs. And, Droplets reduce bandwidth use by 90% versus comparable Web-based applications by sending UI changes and commands through a highly optimized User Event Protocol.

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Does Droplets support JBuilder, Forte and other standard development tools?
Yes. You can write and debug your Droplets using any standard development tool. And visual components will soon be supported.

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I have a Web UI. Should I port it to Droplets?
Droplets will offer you a whole host of benefits over your Web interface, and interoperates with the Web if you desire (see two questions below). These benefits include desktop alerting, even when the application and/or the browser are closed; increased speed and radically decreased bandwidth consumption; increased interactivity that allows you to write real-time, server-side updates with no "Refresh" required; and the power and intuitive usability formerly available only to local software. In particular, if you have had a difficult time replicating your application's original functionality to a Web interface, Droplets should be considered.

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Why use Droplets instead of a Swing fat client?
Using Droplets is just like using Swing, but Swing without the Droplets Platform does not allow you to serve your GUIs remotely. This means tremendous cost and time savings in terms of administration, automatic application upgrades on start-up, and access to your applications from any connected device.

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How do Droplets work with Web pages?
Droplets lets the Web do what it does best, and avoids its inherent problems. Droplets can, if desired, run as applets, or as browser-independent GUIs. Enterprise portals and other Web sites can use Web pages to collect Droplets ‹ the end-user double-clicks a Droplets icon and it runs as an applet, or drags the icon off of the Web page with a mouse and the GUI gets placed on the client-side computer (with zero application code download). The Web browser is thus allowed to do what it does best (browsing), while the rich, real-time services are left to Droplets.

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How do I embed a Droplet in a Web page?
It's easy. Use a short snippet of Javascript to specify the Droplet's parameters. Then you can embed the Droplet as a draggable icon, running as an applet, or as an icon that you click to run.

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How do Droplets work with Enterprise Java Beans?
Droplets integrates seamlessly with EJB/J2EE-based applications and application servers. When the Droplets Platform is used to present EJB applications, the presentation logic resides on the Droplets UI Server, with the rest of the application logic hosted by the EJB server. As such, the Droplets Server acts as an EJB client to the application server, and communication takes place over a VM-to-VM communication channel like RMI. This architecture allows you reuse existing EJB business logic with a next-generation online UI powered by Droplets.

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How do Droplets work with Web services?
Droplets uses XML for server configuration, XSLT for documentation of configuration parameters, and XML to interact with outside applications and resources. XML is not used between Droplets client and server piece because of speed considerations, but this does not affect the non-proprietary XML-based nature of interaction between Droplets and all outside resources. In addition, applications presented as Droplets are fully capable of accessing XML-based Web services. Developers access Web Services from Droplets applications using standard Java XML & HTTP libraries, or a commercial or open-source SOAP toolkit.

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How scalable is Droplets?
Droplets is highly scalable. Each server supports thousands of simultaneous connections, and servers can be load-balanced to support truly massive implementations. It is appropriate for enterprise and consumer applications delivered over the Internet, an Extranet or any other network.

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Why use Droplets instead of Applets?
Droplets have full browser-independent capabilities, and remain as persistent desktop applications even when the browser is closed. Unlike applets, Droplets deliver zero application code to the client, making start-up much faster. This gives developers the ability to write much larger, enterprise-strength applications without worrying about the start-up cost. Also unlike applets, Droplets are able to interact with the client-side operating system to perform basic functions like attaching files to email messages.

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Why are Droplets many times faster than HTML?
HTML is a human-readable, verbose tag language that is very bandwidth intensive. In addition, browsers require that you refresh the entire UI/Web page in order to render any updates on the client-side. Droplets by contrast uses an optimized communication layer to transmit UI updates in real-time, without requiring an update of the entire GUI. This radically increases application performance, while at the same time reducing bandwidth consumption.

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How does Droplets work behind firewalls?
When firewalls are present that restrict TCP/IP access, Droplets communicates via HTTP Tunneling, with efficient client polling maintaining the platform's real-time interactivity. The Droplets Platform automatically detects firewall settings, including the use of authenticated proxies, allowing seamless, no-configuration-required firewall and proxy interactivity.

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Is there support for security and encryption?
The Droplets Platform supports encryption of data as it is transmitted over the network, and has a built-in encrypted authentication mechanism. It can also interoperate with existing third-party authentication. In addition, Droplets provides total protection against computer viruses, transmitting zero application code and thus providing zero opportunity for malicious individuals to "Trojan Horse" viruses onto exe's.

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Questions?
Contact us
Call 214.969.9970
Fax 214.774.4900

 


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  ©2004-2014 Droplets, Inc. All rights reserved. Protected by U.S. Patents 6,687,745 - 7,502,838 - 8,402,115 - 8,626,829; Australia Patent 769099; Canada Patent 2385044; Israel Patent 148635; Japan Patents 5,108,967 - 5,143,926; South Korea Patent 10-07997610000; Worldwide Patents Pending