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Standards-Based Web Technologies for Real-Time Groupware

This is an ongoing project.


Standard web browsers are becoming a common platform for delivering groupware applications, but until recently, the only way to support real-time collaboration was with browser plug-ins. New networking approaches have recently been introduced – based on re-purposed techniques for delivering web pages (Comet), or integration of real-time communication directly into the browser (HTML5 WebSockets). Little is currently known, however, about whether these new approaches can support real-time groupware. We carried out a study to assess the performance of the three different networking approaches, based on a framework of groupware requirements, in several network settings. We found that web-based networking performs well – better than plug-in approaches in some cases – and can support the communication requirements of many types of real-time groupware. We also developed two groupware applications using Comet and WebSockets, and showed that they provided fast and consistent performance on the real-world Internet. Our studies show that web-based networking can support real-time collaboration, and suggest that groupware developers should consider the browser as a legitimate vehicle for real-time multi-user systems.


Images and Videos

Performance results from performance tests

Example web application using XHR-multipart





NSERC – SurfNet