IUBio

Different interface needed for V8.0 altogether:TCP/IP clients

gquinn gquinn at com1.med.usf.edu
Sat Jan 21 13:33:16 EST 1995


Following the sudden resurgence in interest in X-windows emulators
since the release of GCG V8.0, I am prompted to add the following.

X-windows emulators really are extremely useful items, for programs
that can not be run any other way out of a UNIX box. The new X
interface to GCG is certainly very welcome (and overdue), and will
encourage many people that I know to use the program. But, you are
still left with the problem that X is an inherently slow system
over the net beacause of the amount of data that needs to be 
transmitted, the speed of X emulators, and the speed of the remote
computer being used. By definition, X does not store graphics locally
for undisplayed regions of the screen, but calls the host to send 
a screen refresh when required. Just in terms of the GCG interface
this can make it frustrating to use unless you are using a fast
computer (eg. pentium), a good network link, and good X emulation
software (and boy do they vary in speed). In addition, there is the 
problem of transferring data to/from the UNIX account (take UNIX to
mean a generic computer account). Programs like PC-Gene operate on
the local computer, with quick screen graphics, and local storage of
data.

What  am suggesting (in a long-winded fashion!) is that GCG should
NOT be concentrating on honing their X-interface to perfection,
but rather developing TCP/IP clients that would run on local Macs
and PC's, and would connect to a GCG daemon running on the server
that would handle program requests, submit them, and send them back 
the remote PC/Mac. I this way, data throughput would be enhanced
enormously, sequence data would be physically located on the machine
and the program could have a graphical interface even when used from
home or very remote locations, using the now-common SLIP or PPP
protocols or emulators (eg. TIA, Twinsock) and connecting via
a modem/telephone line. The people at NCBI have done exactly this
for Entrez very successfully, which runs superbly over a modem/PPP
modem/SLIP or modem/Twinsock. This is the obvious way forward.....
I wish I knew enough about programming to write the client software
myself, but my guess is that this would be a relatively easy thing for
someone to do, using the mechanism created for WPI.



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