The Java EE 5 Tutorial

Application Clients

An application client runs on a client machine and provides a way for users to handle tasks that require a richer user interface than can be provided by a markup language. It typically has a graphical user interface (GUI) created from the Swing or the Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT) API, but a command-line interface is certainly possible.

Application clients directly access enterprise beans running in the business tier. However, if application requirements warrant it, an application client can open an HTTP connection to establish communication with a servlet running in the web tier. Application clients written in languages other than Java can interact with Java EE 5 servers, enabling the Java EE 5 platform to interoperate with legacy systems, clients, and non-Java languages.