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Re: [Gnumed-devel] GNUmed in a webbrowser

From: Wolfgang Keller
Subject: Re: [Gnumed-devel] GNUmed in a webbrowser
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2013 15:25:10 +0200

> I see. Then someone needs to produce an lean webbrowser (if that is
> possible).. 

Won't work. "Plugins (Flash!), Javascript, now HTML5, and so on and so

Try Dillo with any "modern" WWW page and see for yourself.

"Thin clients" and "web browsers" are perfectly antagonistic.

> > While running a stripped-down Linux distribution with a wxPython
> > client is perfectly feasible on something with, e.g. 128MB RAM or
> > so.
> That is certainly true. I run a notebook from 2005 on Ubuntu 10.04
> which is faster then my modern notebook.  

I wouldn't consider Ubuntu as a "lean" distribution. Not at all.
Try running the current wxPython client on Damn Small Linux instead.

Does anyone still have a 486 with 8MB RAM at hand to test it?

> > > I also allows you to access information in environments where you
> > > don't have access to your fully tailored working environment (your
> > > own devices).
> > 
> > Make the client "portable" (self-contained, on the Mac this is the
> > mandatory default anyway), to run it off a USB device without
> > requiring "installation" of anything. On *all* operating systems.
> It is portable already on Windows. On Mac we have a portable version
> as well but it is badly outdated ( I don't have access to a Mac for
> updating the packages).
> For Linux we could build portable versions. I have not seen demand
> for it (yet).
> However with a webbrowser you would code once and ignore that
> different operating systems exist.

No you can't.

You can't even ignore browser *versions*, not even *user preferences*.
Otherwise your "web app" won't do anything.

In reality, "web applications" are a freaking mess to "deploy",
especially if there is more than one. You essentially need one tailored
browser installation per each application on the client side. Otherwise
it's the good old "DLL hell"-style dependency mess again.

And don't even think about the server side. Instead of just a rock-solid
PostgreSQL server with proven security (doesn't one of the TLD DNS
servers use PostgreSQL?) you have plenty of web servers with open http
ports waiting for all scriptkiddies of the world.


> I do know the pain to support different browsers.

Exactly. "Web applications" are *far* from being "portable" across
> Rest assured we will stick o fat clients .

A "web client" would be *fat*. Both obese and dumb in fact.

wxPython, in contrast, is at about as "slim" as a GUI framework can
be. While being both "smart" and "powerful".

Although a more Pythonic API (for wxPython) that doesn't change with
each release would be nice.

> In an ideal world I would like to see a client that can be run across
> devices , anywhere and across operating systems without having to
> package for Windows, Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE, Fedora , you name it
> and the Mac :-)

In principle, it could be done with Python. It would "just" require a
lot of additional effort and create loads of inconveniences for the
Python standard distribution. Probably not worth it.
> Open a browser on any device and connect. 

No "browser". Again; barndoor, fat, slow, poor functionality, b-a-d

> Forget about installing Postgresql

You need to store the data somewhere. And even a "small" office these
days is most often a multi-user environment, so you need a
client-server RDBMS. Installing PostgreSQL is pretty foolproof these
days. I've checked it, I'm the reference fool. ;-)

Heck, I can run a "portable" PostgreSQL server off a USB device just to
demonstrate it.

> the correct version, a minimum of QT or wxpython etc.

All the Python stuff comes within the application bundle of the
client, basta. Download, extract to wherever you want, double-click and

> To wrap it up it seems that the browser and the underlying
> technologies need to be improved / innovated.

"Web browsers" have been hopelessly messed up beyond repair ever since
Netscape 2 and the "invention" of frames, javascript etc. and so on....

> But that does not defeat the concept of a dump viewer (browser)
> giving access to applications on fat servers.

"Fat servers" - PostgreSQL runs well on "embedded" environments with
ressources just as tight as those where wxPython can run.

No chance to run a web application server or any "modern" browser on that kind 
of system.



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