Client-side code and UPK

There is a long running discussion in UPK Development regarding the use of any client side code as part of the end-user playback. By this I mean anything which requires an install including ActiveX controls, browser helper objects, stand-alone applications, things that run in the task bar, etc. We all have grown to love zero-footprint applications over the past ten years, but there are some things which are not technically feasible using HTML alone. One example of this is the functionality provided by our SmartHelp in-application support component. This allows the user to launch context sensitive help without making modifications to the target application. (If you are unfamiliar with SmartHelp, more information can be found in the "In-Application Support Guide" in the UPK manual directory)

We always try to implement everything we can using only HTML but there are many features which have been requested over the years that would require some client-side code in order to work. When these come up for discussion, there is always a spirited debate about the acceptability of a client side solution.

I thought it would be interesting to ask for feedback from a wider audience. What do you think about client-side components? Would your organization consider them? Do you already deploy SmartHelp? Is there a large hurdle to clear for these to be worth the deployment costs?

Let us know.

Mark Overton, VP Development for UPK

Comments:

Hello Mark, Thanks for your post. Currently the deployment is very flexible without installing any other software at the end-uses pc's. This is a very big advantage. I have done a lot of implementations the last 9 years and since the introduction of SmartHelp, we did not get this easilly running at our customers because the customer did not see the advantage above the disadvantage of making installations possible. SInce the UPK mainly is used by larger companies with very high security standards, it is not something easily to bypass. Even such thing as installing the client could take months (of discussion and scripting) at some customers. Also, such installation should proceding a Change Request in the organization. On the other hand, larger organizations have more and more the options to install client side software automatically / pushed. There usually is not a no-go discussion if client software is needed, but customers usually are very happy with the current flexibility.

Posted by Sjoerd de Vries on April 16, 2010 at 04:42 PM PDT #

Mark, My first thought was "No!!!!", as users not having to install any components was a big selling point for us. My experience when it comes to users and simple things like dealing with pop-up blockers on a variety of browsers and toolbars makes me confident in saying that even the most seamless plug-in or add-on will result in headaches the current setup avoids (and we are grateful for.) That being said, upon thinking about it further, my question would be what features are we missing out on by not having client side code? Thanks, David

Posted by David Hayden on May 10, 2010 at 11:50 PM PDT #

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The authors of this blog are members of the UPK product development, management, and marketing teams. On this blog, you'll find UPK news, tips/tricks, upcoming events, and general information on UPK - the easy-to-use, comprehensive content development, deployment, and maintenance platform for increasing project, program, and user productivity.

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