IDENTIFICATION OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROBLEM OR OPPORTUNITY
Advantages of the Web Environment
The Web Server, Web Browser paradigm allows a system to be easily deployed on many different platforms, and frequently updated with absolutely no installation or upgrade problems. All code need only be located or modified on the server. Any screen or Applet changes automatically will be updated by the Web Browsers.
In comparison with more conventional Wide Area Networks using Client-Server systems, Web/Internet environments offer several advantages. On Client-Server systems full applications are actually executing on the client systems, and there is a great deal more traffic going over the network. Performance on the Client-Server application in a WAN environment is very dependent on line speed. Thus dedicated high speed connections often have to be put into place. These can be very expensive, and can also limit the expandability of the network. In the Web/Internet environment lower speed connections are the rule, and everything is structured around keeping traffic minimized. New locations can be added with minimal expense. In this environment the largest issue in improving performance, is upgrading the speed or memory of the server. This expense is trivial compared with that of adding high speed connections to diverse locations.
To be truly portable, Client-Server systems have to be set up to run on several different client operating system platforms, such as Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, OS-2, Macintosh. While the differences might appear trivial, each will have it's own set of unique problems and bugs. It will be necessary to keep close track of versions, memory leaks, all the normal user support needs for custom applications for all these platforms, and to have separate installation programs for all versions. Each environment also has slight differences in the way graphics and sound are supported. All of this is built into the web browser, and in the Web-Internet environment is not a problem to the developer. In the future these will become more and more important as x-rays, heart cath video results, and other test graphical output are transferred electronically.
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