Title page for ETD etd-05182012-022851

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McDaniel, Brian Newsom
Author's Email Address brianmcd@vt.edu
URN etd-05182012-022851
Title The CloudBrowser Web Application Framework
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Back, Godmar V. Committee Chair
Edwards, Stephen H. Committee Member
Ribbens, Calvin J. Committee Member
  • server-centric
  • JavaScript
  • web frameworks
Date of Defense 2012-05-02
Availability unrestricted
While more and more applications are moving from the desktop to the web, users still expect

their applications to behave like they did on the desktop. Specifically, users expect that user

interface state is preserved across visits, and that the state of the interface truly reflects

the state of the underlying data. Unfortunately, achieving this ideal is difficult for web

application developers due to the distributed nature of the web. Modern AJAX applications

rely on asynchronous network programming to synchronize the client-side user interface with

server-side data. Furthermore, since the HTTP protocol is stateless, preserving interface

state across visits requires a significant amount of manual work on behalf of the developer.

CloudBrowser is a web application framework that supports the development of rich Internet

applications whose entire user interface and application logic resides on the server, while all

client/server communication is provided by the framework. CloudBrowser is ideal for single-

page web applications, which is the current trend in web development. CloudBrowser thus

hides the distributed nature of these applications from the developer, creating an environ-

ment similar to that provided by a desktop user interface library. CloudBrowser preserves the

user interface state in a server-side virtual browser that is maintained across visits. Further-

more, multiple clients can connect to a single server-side interface instance, providing built-in

co-browsing support. Unlike other server-centric frameworks, CloudBrowser’s exclusive use

of the HTML document model and associated JavaScript execution environment allows it to

exploit existing client-side user interface libraries and toolkits while transparently providing

access to other application tiers. We have implemented a prototype of CloudBrowser as well

as several example applications to demonstrate the benefits of its server-centric design.

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