The Java EE 5 Tutorial

Java EE Server Communications

Figure 1–2 shows the various elements that can make up the client tier. The client communicates with the business tier running on the Java EE server either directly or, as in the case of a client running in a browser, by going through JSP pages or servlets running in the web tier.

Figure 1–2 Server Communication

Diagram of client-server communication. Application clients
access the business tier directly. Browsers, web pages, and applets access
the web tier.

Your Java EE application uses a thin browser-based client or thick application client. In deciding which one to use, you should be aware of the trade-offs between keeping functionality on the client and close to the user (thick client) and off-loading as much functionality as possible to the server (thin client). The more functionality you off-load to the server, the easier it is to distribute, deploy, and manage the application; however, keeping more functionality on the client can make for a better perceived user experience.