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A Functional Framework for Web-based Information Visualization Systems

Michael Bender; Ralf Klein; Andreas Disch; Achim Ebert
In: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG), Vol. 6, No. 1, Pages 8-23, IEEE Educational Activities Department, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 2000.


The accelerating evolution in information visualization research in the last few years led to several specific system implementations. The obvious drawbacks of this development are highly dependent software systems, which are only available for a restricted number of users. Today, due to the remarkable advances in hardware and software technologies, not only very expensive graphics workstations, but also low-cost PCs are capable of running computational demanding visualization systems. Furthermore, the rapid development of the medium World Wide Web coming along with state-of-the-art internet programming techniques led to a trend toward more generally usable visualization systems. In this paper, we propose a functional developer's framework for general Web-based visualization systems which makes intelligent use of application specific software and hardware components on the server side, as well as of Java's benefits on the client side. To demonstrate the framework's abilities, we have applied it to two practical visualization tasks and we will report on our experience concerning practicability and pitfalls.