Design of a Unified Front End for NOAA Database Access
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 3027, Bellevue, WA, 98009
Donald B. Altman
AbstractWe propose a unified front end (UFE) for placing NOAA's databases on the Internet. The UFE uses a combination of existing World-Wide Web technology along with custom-written elements to present the user with an efficient, content-oriented data search. The goal of the UFE is to allow data seekers to concentrate on the measurements they seek rather than on which NOAA database contains them. A second goal of this work is to reduce loading on NOAA's databases and network connections as well as to minimize the modifications required to put those databases on-line. A third goal is to improve data access for users with low-bandwidth Internet connections. The proposed solution includes a "state engine" to remember prior user requests. The user is therefore not required to repeatedly enter the same search parameters during an iterative data request. By implementing the state engine at the UFE level, the interface with individual databases is simplified. This overcomes a major impediment of applying WWW technology to database access. The proposed solution also includes a real-time bandwidth-sensing feature to optimize the transfer mode for the output data set.
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