Citrix Urges Developers to Support Thin Client Applications

Now that thin-client computing is taking the Windows NT world by storm, Citrix Systems Inc. (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. wants to see more developers supporting the concept it helped pioneer. To encourage them, Citrix is providing a free software development kit (SDK) for developing system administration applications for its WinFrame and MetaFrame environments.

Thin client computing received a big push from the release of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Terminal Server, so the time seemed right to get developers more involved with the technology, says Michael Richtberg, senior product manager for Citrix. "The industry is maturing," he notes.

Citrix's SDK includes documentation on the Citrix Server API and sample software. Additional technical support is available from Citrix on a fee basis. The kit is targeted at resellers, OEMs, IT organizations, and third-party software and hardware developers that need to develop customized administrative tools, such as security and client-connection monitoring capabilities.

The purpose of the SDK offering is "to bolster the support that we hope to get from the industry for thin-client computing -- and the Citrix version of that," says Richtberg. Plus, a number of Citrix's channel partners had requested "the ability to develop administrative tools that extend and enhance our thin-client/server computing software."

The kit is intended solely to develop applications to administer MetaFrame or WinFrame servers, but not Microsoft Windows Terminal Server, says Richtberg. "That would not be our prerogative to do that; that would be Microsoft’s," Richtberg says. Even when MetaFrame is running with Windows Terminal Server, applications built from the SDK are "specifically for the MetaFrame component," he explains.

An example of an application may be tools for controlling or monitoring billing activities, Richtberg illustrates. "A company may need a tool that shows the amount of time departments spend on the system," he explains. Applications from the SDK will support any ICA-capable client, including Windows-based terminals or network computers that also support ICA, he adds.

Copies of the SDK can be downloaded from the Citrix Web site at