Web 2.0 over thin pipes

Tuesday 18 July 2006

The Daily WTF has a Web 2.0 entry: Incompatible with Web 2.0. Basically, a really fat Web application wouldn’t work well over very thin pipes. In fact, it was unacceptably slow because even with the browser’s page cache working properly, each request was downloading up to 600KB of data. The solution: install remote desktop software to a terminal server, and the whole thing works “amazingly fast”.

Everything old is new again. Technology pushes more smarts to the browser, and makes use of downloadable programs to execute at the client (in the form of JavaScript). But when the going gets tough, the clever guy uses remote desktops to essentially implement a mainframe model: all of the work happens on a central computer, with purely cosmetic display instructions sent to dumb terminals! Who came up with this? Austin Powers? It’s like the ‘60’s all over again, baby!

» 2 reactions


Its funny I had the exact same experience with Outlook over the VPN at Kubi. Because the VPN latency was high and Outlook is so chatty, the client was unusable from home.

But amazingly, it was much snappier to use Outlook on my work PC via Remote Desktop over the exact same VPN connection. It seems the UI updates were less affected by latency than the backend server communications. I'll refrain from remarking how poorly the Outlook/Exchange client server protocols are designed and implemented.
Tubes, not pipes, Ned. Didn't you learn the new lingo when you were down in Washington ;-)

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