I'm not a developer (I'm in IT... hey, no booing!), but I try to watch communities like this so I can keep on top of the changes that are coming.
One thing that has proved very, very valuable to our company is the Remote Desktop client in XP Pro. I'm wondering how that component will be affected by Avalon. I've read that there will be perhaps three different levels of GUI richness (mmmm... GUI richness),
but I'm not sure how all this will play out. The nice thing about RDC currently is that, for the user, it is exactly what they see at work, with exceptional performance (except if the SMS Remote Control client is installed... but that's another matter...).
But with Longhorn, are they to expect a remote client that differs greatly from the desktop experience?
A couple thoughts... I've heard that fonts will be handled much differently. I've read that the desktop will be vector- rather than raster-based. I've read a bit about XAML. I've also heard that for the first-tier desktop experience, the rendering will be
offloaded to the GPU using DirectX. Though I realize the current RDC implementation is not a strictly screenshot-over-the-wire solution, much of it is. It sounds like the GUI in Longhorn will be less conducive to that, at least in the first-tier experience.
If I understand correctly, it sounds like the graphics are drawn more with commands than with bitmaps. Is it possible, then, that RDC will adapt by sending the drawing commands over the wire (rather than the compressed bitmaps) and have them rendered locally?
In other words, is it possible that the DirectX, XAML, etc. commands will be sent to the RDC client and drawn locally, instead of drawn at the RDC host and screenshots sent back to the RDC client?
Does anyone have any thoughts/insight on this?
While I don't know any details about the plans for integrating Avalon and RDC, I fully expect it to be made use of once Longhorn is truly upon us.
I think part of the idea behind Longhorn will be to eliminate some of the need for RDC altogether. Smarter and thinner client apps will make apps more portable. And increased prevalence of web services and Indigo solutions will mean that instead
of using RDC to take over a computer back at the office... you'll just load up the app you need on your home Longhorn computer. This, of course, assumes you have a fairly modernized business system using smart .NET clients and webservices, or better yet,
a ClickOnce client app that can be launched from the web page.
I expect, at the very least, that the current RDC Client will still be able to connect to Longhorn systems just like an XP or 2003 system. You'll simply get a bare-bones "classic" style interface.
Whether they plan to make a new RDC client to take advantage of Avalon features (or whether they need to), someone else will have to answer
That's a good point about the ClickOnce client apps helping to eliminate the need for RDC. But, as you said, it only affects
some of that need. Troubleshooting app problems on remote/home computers is sort of the IT nightmare. Even though our company's machines are getting rather dated, many people report that they work faster and better than their nearly brand-new home
machines; I think at least some of that is attributable to the control, security, and maintenance that can be kept over LAN machines (GPOs are extraordinary!). My gut feeling is that sysadmins will be thrilled to deploy ClickOnce apps on the LAN, but may
not be so keen to deploy them to remote/home users... that's another aspect of what is so beautiful about RDC--the home user has near-instant access to all of the full, thick client apps of the LAN client experience (and the associated network speed and latency
advantages), but with very little system or maintenance requirement--and even a lower security requirement--of their remote/home PC, and no residue left behind (save for the cache). The remote machines can be totally trashed, but as long as the RDC will run,
the remote user stays productive, and IT doesn't have to waste time on machines they can't simply just reimage.
I remember when watching the PDC presentations, there was one talk where they talked about RDC. The speaker did say that as you guessed drawing instruction will be sent to the client providing a much better experience for the client remoting in. It was
just something he mentioned at the end of his talk. I'll go back and try and figure out who the speaker was.
Longhorn will continue support for RDC and you can expect a better experience from today, Avalon and the new Media Foundation Layer will enable some new cool stuff. Stay tuned for more info as Longhorn progresses.
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