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IntroductionDevelopers must realize there is more to programming than simplecode. This two-part series addresses the important issue of application architecture using an N-tier approach. The first part is abrief introduction to the theoretical aspects, including theunderstanding of certain basic concepts. The second part shows howto create a flexible and reusable application for distribution to anynumber of client interfaces. Technologies used consist of .NET Beta 2(including C#, .NET Web Services, symmetric encryption), VisualBasic 6, the Microsoft SOAP Toolkit V2 SP2, and basic interoperability[ability to communicate with each other] between Web Services in.NET and the Microsoft SOAP Toolkit. None of these discussions(unless otherwise indicated) specify anything to do with the physicallocation of each layer. They often are on separate physical machines,but can be isolated to a single machine.For starters, this article uses the terms "tier" and "layer"synonymously. In the term "N-tier," "N" implies any number, like 2-tier, or 4-tier, basically any number of distinct tiers used in yourarchitecture.
Description of 1-Tier and 2-Tier Web Applications
Client-Server environments. Perhaps the most influential Client-Server environment is the Internet and its global users. With theincreasing use of web applications, an examination of the bestarchitecture to support web applications is timely. The architecturalcomponent of this discussion will focus on the underlying structuresand schematics that best build web applications. Specifically, we willbe discussing tier architecture, which is the breaking down of anapplication into logical chunks that are called Tiers. Tiers can exist onthe same computer and be connected virtually or logically or ondifferent machines.The simplest examples of tier architecture are enumerated as 1-Tier,2-Tier, and 3-Tier. 1-Tier Architecture is the simplest, single tier onsingle user, and is the equivalent of running an application on apersonal computer. All the required component to run the applicationare located within it. User interface, business logic, and data storageare all located on the same machine. They are the easiest to design,but the least scalable. Because they are not part of a network, theyare useless for designing web applications. 2-Tier Architectures supplya basic network between a client and a server. For example, the basicweb model is a 2-Tier Architecture. A web browser makes a requestfrom a web server, which then processes the request and returns thedesired response, in this case, web pages. This approach improvesscalability and divides the user interface from the data layers.However, it does not divide application layers so they can be utilizedseparately. This makes them difficult to update and not specialized.