Achieving User Interface Heterogeneity in a Distributed Environment.
The introduction of distribution into the field of computing has enhanced the possibilities of information processing and interchange on scales which could not previously be achieved with stand-alone machines. However, the successful distribution of a process across a distributed system requires three problems to be considered; how the functionality of a process is distributed, how the data set on which the process works is distributed and how the interface that allows the process to communicate with the outside world is distributed. The focus of the work in this paper lies in describing a model that attempts to provide a solution to the latter problem. The model that has been developed allows the functionality of a process to be separated from and to exist independently from its interface and employs user interface independent display languages to provide distributed and heterogeneous user interfaces to processes. This separation also facilitates access to a service from diverse platforms and can support user interface mobility and third-party application integration. The goals and advantages of this model are partially realised in a prototype that has been designed around the WWW and its associated protocols, and it is predicted how the model could be fully realised by adopting a modular and object-oriented approach, as advocated by the Java programming environment.
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