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ArchitectNow Kevin Grossnicklaus' Blog
One focus of my job here in St. Louis is large-scale “Smart Client” development.  One of our “niche” areas of expertise at SSE is architecting and designing Windows-based apps. Over the years we’ve built a huge framework that we call the SSE Smart Client Container™. The container itself is a really cool and extensible host for Windows functionality that supports a flexible add-in infrastructure we use to build new apps. It’s all written in C# 2.0 and comes in at around 150k lines of code (not that line count is a valid measure of much anymore). The UI itself is 100% built using the Infragistics NetAdvantage 2007v2 Windows-forms components and was built to provide a very “Windows-standard” type experience for end users. It provides a tabbed MDI interface with all the toolbars, dock-windows, Outlook-style navigation that we are becoming used to in many applications. Thanks to the Infragistics components, the entire container we’ve built supports a concept called “AppStyling” that allows us to “skin” every element of the UI through an external tool. We also incorporated the ability to tightly integrate help (and even provide “dynamic help” ala Visual Studio.NET). All of this is built on top of an extensible “add-in” infrastructure that loads all the new functionality via external DLL’s and XML manifest files. It’s a very flexible yet robust system that we’ve used on a wide array of client products and applications.
While the above description might not do it justice, it’s a very cool framework that I’m excited about because we are just starting to market it as a standalone offering and have our first few customers onboard. In June, one of the teams I am involved with just finished rolling out a huge product based on this framework that was built by a team of 25 people from around the world over the course of 12 months. They had teams in Thailand, England, Denver, and St. Louis and the entire UI was based on this framework. When the product launched we supported the ability for users to switch languages on the fly and translated EVERY UI element into one of 8 provided languages. Thanks to the “add-in” infrastructure, they are currently working on the next features of their product that will be available as up-sells and plug right into the same container.
So why all the talk about this framework?
Next Tuesday (August 14th) at 11:00am (Central time) I will be giving a Webinar on the framework and “Smart Clients” in general. The webinar will be a high-level discussion of what these types of applications are, how they can benefit a business, and how our framework can speed their implementation. Like I said, my company (SSE) is starting to license this framework to other organizations to which it may be of a benefit. So if you think there might be a fit, feel free to sign up for the webinar. Even if you aren’t really into licensing frameworks or don’t have an immediate need, then the webinar might still be a way to see something cool and get some development ideas.
So, if any of you are interested feel free to sign-up here  If you’re not able to attend the webinar but would like more information, drop me an email at and I’ll gladly send you over some materials.
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2007 3:30 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Upcoming "Smart Client" Webinar - Tues, Aug. 14th at 11: 00 AM (CST)

# re: Upcoming "Smart Client" Webinar - Tues, Aug. 14th at 11: 00 AM (CST)
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Can't wait to "stick it" on my calendar!
Left by Your coworker on Aug 10, 2007 3:40 PM

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