write up describes a state-of-the-art tool set for developing
applications for execution over a network. Special emphasis has been given to
programs for execution over the internet. Any abbreviation (expanded or not) can
be found at the end of the document ( see glossary ).
This document can be printed
in an HTML format or downloaded in the form of a PDF document. See "Literature"
for specific instructions.
Click here to go back to the WOW introduction
internet is changing everything. Access to centralized information anytime, from anywhere using a common protocol unleashes opportunities for
use of the internet as never before. No one argues this point, no one.
advancements of networking infrastructures, combined with the acceptance
of HTML as the common protocol, is the magic that makes the internet work.
From the users perspective, its never been easier to access HTML
formatted information by using special programs known as browsers. e.g.
Internet Explorer, NetScape, Opera, MSN Explorer. And for those developing
basic applications, HTML development tools are numerous and make the task
relatively easy. One need only look at the millions of web sites created
this past year - the majority of which being developed by non IT
professionals using internet tools such as FrontPage, Dreamweaver,
PageMill, HotDog, and others. Nothing could be easier for both the
developer and end user.
So whats the problem?
the HTML standard works well for the internets original intent, things
become extremely complex as soon as application developers try to simulate
even the most basic information management requirement via the internet.
e.g.; Adding and updating records to a centralized database; Searching for
specific records of information; Verifying data as it's being entered;
any of the previous basic requirements introduces an enormity of
complexity that is difficult to fathom. So much so, the true potential of
a business's internal use of the internet is typically ignored due to the
significant development and maintenance efforts involved. Although browser
extensions, plug ins, and scripting languages have tried to
fill this void, they have created a difficult, frustrating, and often
times incompatible solution for those application developers trying to
take full advantage of the internet. Combine the previous difficulties
along with a complex development environment for the most popular device
accessing the internet today (PC running Windows), and its no wonder
businesses are frustrated trying to reach their full potential via the
The Ideal Solution
simplify, simplify! i.e.; Make the complexities of application
development for use on the internet transparent to developers. Eliminate
the requirement of developers having to learn HTML, HTML
extensions,Java, Java Script, Visual Basic, C++,
PERL, CGI, VBScript, Active-X, XML, or even
OOP. The ideal and final solution should also remove the issues of
compatibility as it relates to multiple browser releases for use on
multiple platforms. Let developers create client/server GUI applications
just as they currently do for use over a LAN - with
no regard whether the final application is to be accessed over the
internet, a LAN, or both. Even allow developers access to traditional
programming languages such as COBOL, FORTRAN, and C to regain
the productivity of a previous generation of developers - and
legacy software already developed. And finally, the solution should
provide a mature set of application development tools that simplify,
centralize, standardize, and speed up application development for use over
any network - not just the internet. Thats what WOW is all about.
Systems Corp. ( DSC ) has been developing software productivity tools since
its founding in 1978. As a result, DSC has a mature and time tested set of
software packages that address virtually all areas of application
development. The combination of all the individual software components is
currently packaged as the
Network Development Kit (
and has been designed to significantly reduce the time it takes to develop
information management applications for use over a network.
Throughout the Companys history, DSC products have been advanced
to take advantage of the most current technologies and popular operating
systems. The latest of these state-of-the-art advancements include
client/server, GUI, and access via LAN, WAN, and the
comprised of two major programs known as the NDK / Server component and the NDK
/ Thin Client. The
NDK / Server software can execute on UNIX, LINUX, or
the WINDOWS/NT operating system. The NDK
/ Thin Client is available for most Window operating systems; e.g. Windows 95,
Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows ME.
current components include a comprehensive file
system, ODBC interface, screen builder, application
library, report writer,
query facility, transaction processor, 4GL, web builder, and a sophisticated Thin
Additionally, the NDK components are integrated to a common dictionary
enabling application development to be standardized, centralized, and highly productive.
A - Typical LAN set up
NDK was designed to remove laborious and mundane work typically required
to develop an application for networks, it was also designed to allow
developers access to legacy programming languages. However, since NDK has
its own high level procedural language (a component known as EZTRAN), no
other language is required for even the most sophisticated applications.
The importance of this previous statement should not be under estimated!
In effect, the methodologies and tools developed by DSC totally eliminate the need to know such disciplines as
HTML, HTML extensions, Java,
Java Script, VBScript, Perl, CGI, Active-X,
OLE Objects, COM, DCOM, XML, C++, Visual Basic, or even pushing
"objects" for todays networked environments - including delivery for
use over the internet. Additionally,
since WOW does not use HTML,
it completely eliminates the nightmare of browser incompatibilities due to
multiple releases for use over multiple platforms.
using NDK for new application development is a logical step for
simplification and productivity, legacy programs can also reap significant
benefit since traditional programming languages such as FORTRAN, COBOL, and C can even remain for continued development. In most cases,
legacy programs using NDK can be accelerated
to achieve the look and feel of even the most progressive
applications of today - at a fraction of the time typically expected. This
would include no less than client/server methodologies, GUI for end user
presentation, and being accessed via a LAN, WAN, the internet, or all
three. The GUI presentation can even include graphics, sounds, and movies
provided the end user display device can accept this media. Once legacy
programs have been integrated with NDK, they may present their data
screens in GUI, character mode (if preferred), or both depending on the
users display device accessing the application; e.g.; PC running Windows,
dumb terminal, PC emulating terminal.
Mixing the Networks
advantage of WOW on a network set-up as shown in Figure B, only the LAN must be
registered for use on the internet ( a simple and inexpensive procedure ).
Once the previous is done, any application developed or integrated using
NDK, this same application can be accessed via the internet
as if it were operating over a LAN. Additionally, the original developer
need not be concerned whether the final application is to be accessed via
a LAN, the internet, or both. To the end user accessing the
application over the internet, nothing appears to be
different than when accessed locally!!
B - Typical internet and LAN set up
ramification of the previous for both the developer and the end user is
significant and far reaching. Although the advantages of end users
accessing an application over a LAN are no doubt speed, security, and
control, internet access to the same application opens entirely new
possibilities. Although one might think speed would be a major issue for
such an internet access,
its none-the-less extremely fast since WOW minimizes data traffic.
Unlike typical HTML pages of the internet where entire pages are retransmitted across the
net on errors, WOW collects information and sends only what is required in the form of message blocks. It also
caches key elements that ensure future communication with the end user is
highly efficient and minimized. Although the connection speed to the
internet is important, WOW makes any connection run more efficiently
regardless of its speed.
C - Example GUI screen on LAN and internet
Security Over Net (SON)
placing applications for use over the internet is highly desirable, some
applications require security safeguards to protect data that is
considered sensitive. To ensure the protection of such data, DSC can provide either an end to end proprietary encryption
method, or utilize other commercially available techniques as may be
specified by a client.
Example WOW Usage
consider a few practical applications of Window On the Web.
1. A remote sales force needs
to update their forecasts and schedules at their central corporate office
(see Figure B.). To fulfill this requirement, the
individuals would require access to the internet by wireless, dial
up, DSL, or Cable. Of course each would
have the NDK / THIN CLIENT accessible on their desktop. Except for
the access provider subscription charges, these remote individuals would
incur no telephone charges nor the cost of a VPN.
2. The goal is to provide
geographically remote individuals access to a common application which is
also being accessed via a LAN at corporate offices. Perhaps the
requirement is an interactive application designed to maintain a large customer
base or inventory list. WOW
handles this requirement perfectly and makes the remote access efficient
and cost effective since no telephone charges would be applicable. For all
practical purposes, its just as if all individuals assigned these
duties all resided at the corporate office.
last example, consider a call center requiring agents to work
from their homes as well as corporate offices. Ideally, and for all practical purposes, the
call center software should appear
and react the same at either location. Additionally, the "at
home" agents should have the ability to participate in all inbound,
outbound, blended, and even predictive dialing
make the above requirement a reality for this call center, the packages of TELEMATION, PACER,
NDK/WOW, and WOW Thin Client are seamlessly combined to make a single source solution for the
preceding requirement. Remote agents need only a PC, a spare telephone line, and
access to the internet.
NDK / Web Designer
NDK is a breakthrough for
developing GUI applications for use over a LAN and the internet, there are
certain requirements that still lend itself to a more traditional HTML
presentation when the application requirement is for access over the
internet. i.e. ; Consider end user video displays that make it impossible
to use WOW since no Windows operating system is provided at the client
Macintosh, Web TV. However, since these devices typically
provide a browser that can interpret and respond to the HTML protocol,
(Internet Explorer, NetScape, Opera, MSN Explorer) the logical choice for
application development is HTML.
It should be noted, however, that unlike applications using WOW,
HTML style applications require the user maintain his own web server in
addition to registering the LAN for internet access.
D; HTML style application using NDK / Web Designer
assist developers for this type of requirement, DSC also provides a
comprehensive Web Designer component to simplify and expedite even HTML development.
In summary, the NDK Web Designer gives developers full web page access and
the ability to merge database information with existing web pages. These
same applications can be interactive similar to WOW implementations.
Additionally, and in the tradition of all NDK components, development is
performed with well defined functions that allow developers to simply
fill in blanks, pick a number, depress a button or function
key, or type in free form text as may be requested. Although the
Web Designer provides for rapid application development when HTML is
required, these types of applications can now be far more sophisticated
than ever before since the entire NDK tool box is accessible at this
time. Once again, no knowledge of disciplines such as
HTML, HTML Extensions, Java, Java
Script, VBScript, Perl, CGI, Active-X,
COM, DCOM, XML, C++, or Visual Basic is required.
Click here for more on the NDK