Distributing User Interfaces for Widget-based Web Applications

Ever wondered why not using all your devices as a homogenous environment? Why not distributing parts of a complex application to different devices and keep on using the application and making use of your mobile devices and their specific I/O features? We have developed and demonstrated a framework that can migrate Web widgets to various (mobile) devices without losing the application state in the process and keeping the interactions between the widgets using an inter-widget communication approach. Profiting of this, one can use both mobile and desktop environments together, for a new and rich user experience. The framework was presented as a full paper, together with an invited poster/demo at the International Conference for Web Engineering (ICWE), Aalborg, 2013. Below you can find an abstract, slides and poster.

Web applications have overcome traditional desktop applications especially in collaborative  settings. However, the bulk of Web applications still follow the “single user on a single device” computing model. Therefore, the DireWolf framework was created for rich Web applications with Distributed User Interfaces (DUIs) over a federation of heterogeneous commodity devices supporting modern Web browsers such as laptops, smart phones and tablet computers. The DUIs are based on widget technology coupled with cross-platform inter-widget communication and seamless session mobility. In particular, we built DireWolf on top of the ROLE SDK and its XMPP-based Inter-widget communication. Inter-widget communication connect the widgets and enable real-time collaborative applications as well as runtime migration in our framework. For a single user, DireWolf provides more flexible control over different parts of an application by enabling the simultaneous use of smart phones, tablets and computers. As reference use case of the DireWolf framework we realized a collaborative semantic video annotation application in the domain of cultural heritage documentation.

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