Advice Wanted in Database Development

Don Gilbert gilbertd at cricket.bio.indiana.edu
Sat Feb 23 10:45:31 EST 1991

Here is a table of some of the attributes of some of the methods for
developing host-client services for computational biology that I
recently put together.  It may be of use to you and others contemplating
services such as access to various databases.  I'm sure that it is
incomplete and welcome comments.   -- Don

Some Client-Server Protocols for computational biology services
Term      Terminal session with server computer.	
Mail      Electronic Mail exchange
Tel.Serv. Define a new Telnet service (like SMTP, FTP, NNTP, POP, ...)	
X-Win     X-Windows

Client software tailored to service (each Mac/PC must have special software) 
Term       Can be	
Mail	   Preferred	
Tel.Serv.  Required	
X-Win.	   No (? just X-window "server" on Mac/PC/Unix workstation)

Current range of users with hardware and access to service
Term	   Widest	
Mail	   Wide
Tel.Ser	   Medium  (growing -- tcp/ip network access)
X-Win.     Limited (growing)

Term	  Yes	
Mail	  No	
Tel.Serv. Yes	
X-Win.    Yes

File or data transfer
Term	  client or special software (ftp, kermit, copy/paste)
Mail	  client software must handle	
Tel.Serv. client software must handle	
X-Win.	  ??? client software or copy/paste?

Term	  encoded or special (e.g., Tektronics)
Mail	  encoded	
Tel.Serv. encoded	
X-Win.	  Yes
(encoded means text format such as HPGL, Postscript that must be translated 
 by client software to display; client terminal software often includes
 Tektronics emulation for graphics)

Fixed client-server protocol
Term	  Sort of (user manual)	
Mail	  Yes	
Tel.Serv. Yes	
X-Win.	  No
(Fixed means that client software must be updated w/ each change to service

Special features or problems	
Term	  old standby, dial-up service is possible	
Mail	  can't reliably return mail directly to Mac/PC 
Tel.Serv. client needs tcp/ip network connection, ???	
X-Win.	  tcp/ip network, high network overhead, new technology

Example software	
Term	  GCG on Vax, HyperGCG stack	
Mail	  Genbank Search Hypercard stack  	
Tel.Serv. POP, NNTP, SMTP, FTP, etc. with Mac/PC clients (HyperFTP, 
	      Net Newsreaders, POP mail ...)	
X-Win.	  Worm Community System, Fly data browser

Don Gilbert                                     gilbert at bio.indiana.edu
biocomputing office, biology dept., indiana univ., bloomington, in 47405

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