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Separating UI and Functionality
The Flexible Way to Architect a Jini Service
by Bill Venners
October 1999

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This article describes the basic architecture for Jini services that have UIs. It shows how separating the UI of a Jini service from the functionality enables Jini services to be accessed from many different kinds of computers and devices.

Traditionally, desktop applications have been designed with a user interface (UI) built into the application. The code for the UI of the application is often highly coupled to the code that implements the functionality of the application. Over time, tentacles of UI code may burrow deep into functionality code, and tentacles of functionality code may burrow back into UI code. In the traditional desktop application, therefore, the UI code and functionality code are usually inseparable, married for all eternity.

Jini's service object architecture encourages a different way of thinking about UI and functionality:

A Jini service object should represent the pure functionality of the service, expressed via the methods of its object interface. The service object interface for a toaster service, for example, should express or model the pure functionality of the conceptual toaster service -- it should say "what it means to be a toaster." The service object should not supply any way for human users to access to the toaster service. Such access should be provided by a separate "UI object."

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