AbstractAs the use of the world wide web grows, the profile of web use has changed significantly. Web use has gone from purely information access (soft data) to critical operations such as e-commerce (hard data). However, the synchronous model which the world wide web currently supports is time consuming. Thus web browsing can easily become a frustrating experience if the network or servers incur delays, are not accessible, or the same interaction must be repeated many times. This model is even more painful for clients who are disconnected most of the time or are accessing the web via low bandwidth connections and resource constrained devices such as PDAs. Thus, there is a legitimate need to support non-interactive, asynchronous transactions between client and servers on the web. In this paper, we propose a novel non-interactive service architecture for the web called Web&. The architecture incorporates server and service discovery, support for disconnected and heterogenous clients, web transactions via a uniform server interface, and persistent client state. We also present a prototype that we have implemented using JAVA, XML and JDBC. The prototype consists of a client proxy, server proxies and a directory structure. The client proxy stores the client state and performs web queries on the client’s behalf. Server proxies provide a uniform interface to servers on the web based on XML. The directory service allows clients to discover servers for a service and enforces a standard protocol for communication between the client proxy and the server proxies. The benefits of asynchronous interaction include: concurrent activities, client mobility, device independence, reduced sensitivity to network/server latencies/unavailability. These lead to a more efficient interaction with the web.
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