Virtual Campfire: Distributed Mobile/Web Widget Applications


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In the post-desktop era, many devices (laptops, smartphones, tablet PCs) have proliferated and have become undividable part of our digital lives. However, each device comes with different input methods (multi-touch, mouse, and voice), sensors (accelerometer, compass, GPS) and display sizes. Moreover, they are mostly used for separate tasks, e.g. phones for calling, tablets for reading and web browsing, and laptops for text editing. It may be convenient to use one of the devices for one type of application, while the device may be limited to run the other types of applications. Why shouldn’t we take advantage of all of our personal computing devices and to act as one logical device?
In this Virtual Campfire demo, we present a framework for rich internet applications with user interfaces distributed over a federation of heterogeneous commodity devices with multimodality, i.e. laptops, smartphones, and tablet computers. The UI is based on web widgets, running in widget containers such as iGoogle or OpenSocial. We employ the latest Web technologies including XMPP and HTML5 WebSockets to realize cross-platform inter-widget communication, based on the SDK of the EU Project ROLE and i5 Mobile Cloud Infrastructure. This underlying technology virtually connects the distributed UI parts (widgets) and enables real-time input fusion and output fission. We show the framework in action with a prototype for the use case of collaborative semantic video annotation (SeViAnno 2.0), which was already pilot tested for documentation purposes in cultural heritage management. The user has more flexible control over the different parts of the application by using his smartphone or tablet computer with multi-touch functionality, e.g. to navigate over a digital map or preview and annotate videos, and carry out other text input tasks from a laptop.

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Virtual Campfire: Distributed Mobile/Web Widget Applications

  1. 1. Future Mobile Internet Services Lehrstuhl Informatik 5 Prof. Dr. M. Jarke Virtual Campfire LFG Stadtbaugeschichte Prof. Dr. M. Jansen XMPP Inter-widget Communication for Distributed Mobile Web Interfaces ─ Collaborative Semantic Video Annotation Services for Professional Communities Concepts One user – Multiple personal computing devices Multiple users – One (logical) mobile web application delivered through the cloud Federation of heterogeneous personal computing devices and users’ collaboration Use Case of Semantic Video Annotation in Cultural Heritage Management Distribution of UI elements to diverse (mobile) computing devices Internet Real-time remote collaboration Tablets for video players with multi-touch interaction Collaborative Semantic Video Annotation Multimodal interaction with widgets Personalized and adaptive mobile web applications Extension to mobile platforms, e.g. Android and iOS Best usage of different mobile devices Simultaneous real-time interaction with all UI elements Mobile multimedia management with Laptops and PCs for text editing metadata standards, e.g. MPEG-7 Smartphones for on-site video capture, geotagging on maps and video annotation Widget-based Technologies Inter-widget communication (IWC) Event-based communication between widgets Widget containers using iGoogle or OpenSocial, etc. Inter-widget communication (IWC) framework Local IWC based on HTML5 Web Messaging API Remote IWC based on XMPP Publish Subscribe XEP WXG: Gateway for XMPP over HTML5 WebSocket protocol Library available with EU FP7 ROLE project SDK Responsive Open Learning Environments Rapid development using prevalent web technologies Ultra High-Speed Mobile Information and Communication