Museums and the Web 1999

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Published: March 1999.


Developing Distributed Applications on the Web

Nicholas Crofts , Direction des Systèmes d'Information (DSI), Switzerland

Session: Distributed Web Applications

Many museums have been quick to start using the web for the distribution of general information about exhibitions, opening times, and collections. Some have developed sophisticated virtual tours and on-line catalogues while others are more modest in their ambitions. However, all these developments have one thing in common: they push information out rather than pulling it in. One of the most interesting possibilities of the web is being neglected - using it as a front-end for distributed applications. For whatever reason, fear, angst, lack of technical expertise, or HTML allergy, many people shy away from developing web applications, but the potential is enormous. Because client stations require only a web browser, installation and maintenance are simplified, cross platform compatibility ceases to pose a problem and remote access stretches as far as the net will carry you. Start up a browser on any machine - not even your own -and your application and data are there waiting for you. In this presentation I want to explain how you can make distributed applications work efficiently using today's web technology, what the potential pit falls are and how to avoid them, and finally, take a brief look at the commercial implications of web distributed applications.