What is a client-server application

Client-server architecture

The client-server model describes the principle of communication between two participants in a network. Sometimes one speaks of an architecture, the principle or a server-based network.
The two participants have different roles in communication. The course of communication and interaction is defined in protocols.

The interaction between client and server provides that the client sends a request to the server. The server evaluates the request and returns a response or the data (response or reply).

Server-based network

Communication between clients is difficult. A communication protocol has to take into account too many adversities. The client-server model is therefore an architecture concept that is often used, in which the server plays the central role.
One then speaks of a server-based network. Here the data is stored and managed on one or more central computers, the servers. We speak of dedicated servers on which no regular application programs but special server software and services are executed. The server must run continuously and always be available. During this time, the clients may be switched off.
Communication between clients always provides for the exchange of information via the server.

Client-server operating system

So-called network operating systems are designed so that communication between different processes takes place in a client-server model. The client-server model is an abstraction that can be used both for a single machine and for a network of machines.

In practice, you can then run the client and the server on different machines and connect them to one another via a network. The server can then be a central service in a decentralized network that is shared by several clients.

Client-server communication

The communication between client and server differentiates between the user or user side and the provider or service provider side. The user runs application programs (clients) on his computer that access the resources of the server on the provider side. Here the resources are centrally managed, divided and made available.

Within a client-server protocol, the interaction between client and server provides that a request always includes a response. The process of communication can be designed in different ways.

  • Synchronous: In the case of synchronous communication, the client only makes its next request when it has received the response to it.
  • Pipeline: A variant of this is the pipeline. The client sends several requests one after the other. But he awaits the receipt of the responses.
  • Asynchronous: With asynchronous communication, the client sends several requests to the server. However, the responses do not arrive at the client in the same order and at different times.

Client-Server Protocols

The course of communication or the interaction between client and server (request / response) is regulated in a protocol. A client-server protocol provides that only the client establishes the connection to the server, never the other way around.

Many Internet protocols work on the client-server principle. For example HTTP and HTTPS for the World Wide Web or SMTP, IMAP and POP for email communication. In the simplest case, the client sends a request to the server. It evaluates the request and returns a response or the data.

Typical clients

  • Desktop pc
  • Thin client
  • Notebook
  • Tablet
  • Smartphone

Typical servers

  • File server
  • Web server
  • Mail server
  • Name server
  • Database server
  • Proxy server

Serverless computing

Serverless computing is a broad concept for the use and provision of applications and services from the cloud. The services provided are often assigned to Function as a Service (FaaS).

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