What is a Rich Client Platform?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Building a software application requires a complex integration of many components. A rich client platform (RCP) is a programmer tool that makes it easier to integrate independent software components. Some examples of RCP include the Eclipse®integrated development environment (IDE) and Java® Spring®. These framework toolkits help the developer create, test, and package software code.

A rich client platform allows the seamless integration of independent software modules into a software application. This typically includes advanced graphic tools, spreadsheets, and geo-spatial mapping technology. By using an RCP, the developer can integrate independent components into an application with a simple click of the mouse.

The rich client platform is similar to an iTunes® user interface. It allows developers a central dashboard to manage all the components of a software application. This approach to software development provides a single integration point for all software modules.

Java® programmers most often use rich client platforms. This framework makes it easier for the programmer to manage his daily tasks. It includes many modules and reusable gadgets that can be added to a program. The RCP saves time for the developer because he can use standard reusable components.

The Eclipse® programming application is one of the best examples of a fully integrated rich client platform. The RCP features of Eclipse® help the programmer manage hundreds of Java® components and libraries, which would otherwise be considered unmanageable.


Many modern software technologies use a rich client platform. This full feature architecture improves the productivity of development teams by streamlining the integration processes. The software developer is able to use a standard technique for integrating modules into a single application.

The Netbeans® integrated development environment is another example of a rich client platform. This framework is designed specifically for Java Netbeans® technology. Standard Netbeans® development requires the integration of hundreds of modules and software packages. The RCP organizes this information into a visual desktop, which makes it easier to manage and add these complex components.

Unit testing is often a tedious task for software developers. Using a rich client platform makes this testing easier because it centralizes the testing tasks. The developer can import advanced testing components into the application that provide better reporting results. It also allows the segregation of independent components, which makes it easier to manage the testing process.


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