Better Access for Regular use of Networked Software

Didier Richard and Gordon John Kearley
Institut Laue Langevin, Scientific Computing

Although the ILL is in France, more than 70% of the 2000 visits per year are from people outside France, and because their visits are necessarily short, serious data-treatment and analysis usually begins when they return to their home institute. Traditionally, much analysis has been made using remote-access to the ILL, but a number of recent developments have made remote-user access almost useless:
1. Firewalls complicate remote-terminal use.
2. Many programs now use X which performs badly over remote connections.
3. Most ILL programs are platform dependent.

The solution is obvious: Create a server at the ILL (we call it BARNS) which allows programs to execute on ILL computers but with input/output via the internet to "standardised" frames and applets within the clients web-browser. This is not simply an exercise in creating an HTML form for each program, BARNS must:
1. appear mutli-user, multi-threaded, and access multiple nodes.
2. handle all aspects of user login, accounts, processes, zombies etc.
3. create standardised frames which can handle almost any program requirements with minimum effort.
4. automatically direct output to the correct frame: program, graphics or tools.

We will show how little modification is necessary in order that programs can run under BARNS and demonstrate how interactivity is achieved by running LAMP (Large Array Manipulation Program) on an ILL computer with output to a web-browser at NOBUGS.

(posted 16-Oct-97 jw)