The Importance of Thick Clients

  • For a moment I thought this was an editorial for consultants!

    We have the Mac/Windows divide which is a bump in the road for thick clients.  For me the beauty of a good thick client is that it is focussed on doing one thing really well.  A good tool almost fades into the background, it lets you focus on the job you are trying to do rather than the mechanics of doing it.  You don't have to fight the tooling.

    I enjoyed using Aquafold Data Studio as a DB IDE.  Its support for a large number of databases made it a "must-have" for me when the company I was working with decided to move away from Microsoft.  It wasn't as all-encompassing as SSMS for SQL Server but it offered a lot more SQL Server specifics than other IDEs I could find.  I wrote a small piece of code to migrate the snippets from Redgate SQLPrompt into the Aquafold "abbreviations" equivalent.  It wasn't as good as SQLPrompt but at least I had it, and across all DB platforms supported by Aquafold.

    The thing with Redgate tools, it is not until you have them taken off you that you realise just how much you had come to rely on them.  I've always found them to fit my ways of working like my favourite gloves.  Here's a tip.  If your company is looking to migrate from one DB platform to another make sure the quality tooling you have to day and its absence tomorrow is factored into the cost of change.

    I like VSCode but not for everything.  I find the IDEs from JetBrains  much better, again because they are focussed on doing one thing really well.  That said, they've just changed their look & feel to be more like VSCode, which is irritating.

    The trick with VSCode is to find the best possible extensions for what you have to do, but I am nervous about the possibility of malware in extensions. It feels like I am playing Russian Roulette.

    Regarding Electron apps, they are getting better with regard to accessibility but there is some way to go yet.

    I feel that web apps are rarely as good as they should be.  I find them slow, clunky and prone to UI issues depending on the browser you are using.  Web session timeouts are irritating.  The way that the web app provider can foist a change on you often feels like solving a problem I don't have by introducing loads I hadn't got.

  • I agree with you, David. I'll add that I'm seeing a poor practice being repeated. I've been developing long enough that I remember when Internet Explorer was king of the browsers. Everyone who did web development would write specifically for IE. That was a bad idea, but that's what people did (myself included). Then when IE began to lose market share all those websites that were dependent on IE, and its non-standard approach to rendering HTML, were in a lot of hurt. We still deal with that today, where several internal enterprise web apps rely on IE.

    The same thing is happening today, only now with Google's Chrome. I've come across several businesses websites that have been written with Chrome only in mind. What's so irritating is that they don't bother to tell you that you'd better use Chrome because they won't support MS Edge, Firefox, Safari, etc. And you won't find out until you get to some point during your interaction with them, that something won't work. Then they'll tell you that it only works with Chrome. So much for web standards.

    At this point I don't expect Chrome to ever be replaced. But having watched IE disappear from the browser landscape, I no longer write web apps to target just one browser.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • There is an add-in called SQL Shades that does a much better job of providing the "Dark Mode" experience than what is provided by MS. It is an executable you have to download and install, so proceed at your own comfort level. You can read more about it at




  • Thank you for this link, Mike.  I have installed SQL Shades and it has made a huge difference.  It is not perfect, but way better than anything else I have tried.  The ADS dark mode still feels more natural for simple query editing, but SQL Shades is a great option for all those SSMS-only things.

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