GCG, X-windows and web

Rick Westerman westerm at purdue.edu
Thu May 29 10:36:57 EST 1997

Tim Cutts wrote:
> It seems odd to me that anyone would want to run X clients in a
> graphical web browser when proper X servers are available for all
> platforms supported by Netscape! 

That is a good question.  The 'X in a browser' products aren't any
cheaper than proper X servers nor would one expect better performance
from them.  User training and integration of resources are the key

There are two sides to 'user training'. For any given product there is
the usual tutorials, manuals, lectures, and hands-on instruction that
you can give a person about the product.  But if the person doesn't use
the product very often then the skills that they learn concerning that
product will fade away and the cycle of learning will need to be
repeated and/or the person simply won't use the product anymore. 
Relating this to GCG and X, I suspect that there are lot more people who
use a web browser on a daily basis rather than 'X' (especially if all
they use 'X' for is to get to GCG programs) and thus need less initial
training and re-training. 

'Integration of resources' is another factor. The GCG package doesn't do
everything and so, currently, we must point our people to a variety of
sources and programs.  If we could point them to a single source, e.g.,
a single web page, then life could be simpler for them.

The 'www2gcg' program also integrates web browsers with the GCG package.
I'm not sure if 'X in a browser' programs could take the place of
'www2gcg' but at least it provides an alternative.

I guess in summary that is my experience that people tend to use the
tools that they are comfortable with even if these tools may not be the
best or most efficient ones.  I find most PC/Mac people are more
comfortable with web browsers than with X and thus am interested in
making X "invisible" to them via a browser.

-- Rick

Rick Westerman                System Manager of the Ag Campus Lab. for
westerm at purdue.edu            Computational Biology (ACLCB) & Sys. Mgr.
Phone: (317) 494-0505         of the Biochemistry department BCHM bldg.  
  FAX: (317) 494-7897         Purdue Univ. W. Lafayette, IN 47907

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