Currency Server is used to power different categories of client applications, which include:
- Thin clients (Web services, forms, applets, etc.)
- Service-oriented applications (e.g. Indigo model)
- Rich and smart clients (e.g. calculator and currency conversion software)
Thin Clients and Service-Oriented Applications
"Gluing together" thin clients and service-oriented applications with Currency Server usually only takes a few lines of code, and is fully covered in the Currency Server web pages, examples and documentation. The Currency System home page itself makes use of conversion forms and information tables written in ASP.NET.
A Rich Client in the Currency System Family
The Currency System family includes a fully reconfigurable currency conversion and calculator application for Microsoft Windows systems (which by different 2004 statistics and reports have a market share well in excess of 90%, considering either installed desktops or internet browsing platforms).
Just like "thin" solutions, the calculator software can be deployed for use by help desk, customer service, sales force and accounts personnel, or for remote office or home use.
Because the "rich" application utilizes local resources and only needs an occasional network connection to update its local cache of exchange rate data, it can make more efficient use of LAN/intranet bandwidth resources, and be preferred not only for corporate deployment, but also for home or small office use. Also, as the calculator engine was designed to be "sometimes connected" from the beginning, it is also failsafe ("smart") by design in this respect, allowing its users to keep performing calculations and conversions even when there is no network connection.
In order to allow for intelligent installation and updates, the deployment of Currency System client applications is, by default, managed with Windows Installer (MSI) technology.
Powered by Third Party?
A common approach with applications which may be perceived to be similar to the calculator clients of Currency System family, is to configure the client so that it connects to the server of an unrelated third-party (e.g. a national central bank) to fetch up-to-date rates. We believe that this brings with it the potential for unacceptable negative side effects.
Let's imagine a scenario where a "currency calculator" is offered for free download to customers, configured to fetch exchange rate data from an unrelated server.
- Is the third party willing, and will it continue to be willing, to be exposed to the traffic generated by an unrelated consumer application?
- Non-technical users become exposed to a third-party interface which may not have been designed for long term stability. You, as the redistributing entity of the calculator, are in control of your own servers (web server, Currency Server), but you cannot be in control of the third-party servers. In the event of a change of URL or data format all clients would stop working. Would this be acceptable to you and to your clients?
Using Currency Server on the server side not only puts you and your organization in control, shielding you from the above issues, but it also allows you to transmit customized non-exchange rate data together with the currency updates. By making it possible to embed messages to customers as part of what is a useful and requested service, the calculator can become a powerful medium.
Powered by Currency Server!
In order to update their currency data (exchange rates, EMU status, etc.), currency-enabled calculator clients connect via HTTP, HTTPS or FTP to data written to a web server or fed directly by Currency Server. You are in full control of the exact access URL, number of currencies provided, update frequency, etc. Additionally, messages (with support for GIF, JPEG or Flash banners, and plain text) can be sent together with the exchange rate data. Messages can be sent either to all users, or targeting only users of a specific application version.
Configuration of the server side is covered in the Currency Server documentation ("Client-Server Configurations", in "Add-On Components"). As part of custom projects, Cloanto specifically provides detailed deployment and reference information sheets.
Configuration of the client deployment package is done by Cloanto when offering a turnkey calculator development and customization service, and is fully documented in the Calculator Builder product for clients who prefer to develop the custom application completely in-house.