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A thin app is an application that relies on an outside server or hardware component for much of its functionality and code base maintenance. The idea of a “thin app” is based on the concept of “thin client” design which utilizes specific strategies related to a client/server architecture.
Although thin apps have been possible ever since the development of servers in IT, they really took off in the era of virtualized and cloud-delivered systems. The thin app model makes sense in these systems, because so much of the data and other resources are stored by the vendor and delivered to a customer or client over the web. With that said, it makes sense to house a lot of the application’s functionality on the server side, rather than the client side. Much like cloud services in general, a thin app model means the end user does not have to do as much with the application, for example, working with a database or installing a program.