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158 Chapter 9. WORKING WITH APPLICATIONS ON THE NETWORK In this chapter · · · · · Deploying user applications on the network Understanding groupware Working with Lotus Notes Deploying Exchange Server Working with shared databases A program is a spell cast over a computer, turning input into error messages. --Anonymous So far we have concentrated on how networks actually function: We've discussed protocols, the OSI model, peer/client operating systems, and network operating systems. We've also taken a look at sharing resources such as folders and printers in both peer-to-peer networking environments and on server-based networks. Our next area of focus is the application. Application software provides us with the various produc- tivity tools we use to actually get work done. Users on a network can take advantage of all sorts of applications; although we usually think of word processing and spreadsheet software as typical applications, other client applications are used to access special servers. These applications provide communication services and access to special databases. Let's begin our discussion of applications with a short discussion on how selecting the software to be used on your network should be ap- proached. We can then look at specific productivity software, such as Microsoft Office and Sun's StarOffice. Selecting Application Software Before you can deploy application software either directly on client computers or over the network (both of which are discussed in the next section), you must first select the applications that will allow your various users to get their work done. The process for selecting software for end users should not only revolve around the features provided by the software but also the overall usability of the interface that the software provides. While in an ideal world, cost would not be an issue in choosing the best software for your company or home office, we, of course, do not live in an ideal world. So, you will have to weigh software features and the user-friendly factor in light of the cost of the software.