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What are the practical uses of Windows Services?
Great explanation :). Our current imaging system at the company I work for uses Windows services extensively to handle file processing. From the time the images are scanned into the system to queuing for indexing to archiving and then, finally, to outputting them via email, printing, or fax, it's all Windows services.
Customer wants to modify the .properties files packaged in our WAR file
Same here. I would build a UI to make it easier for them to change things and to ensure that things are changed in a more controlled manner. That way, you could add things like field validation into the mix which would ensure that the values are somewhat correct before they are added to the properties file.