GCG, X-windows and web

Tim Cutts tjrc1 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk
Fri May 30 02:18:55 EST 1997

In article <338DA299.EF6D8060 at purdue.edu>,
Rick Westerman  <westerm at purdue.edu> wrote:
>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


>'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.

My concern is that users will become very confused by X inside a web
browser.  It means they still have to learn X, for one thing.  In my
experience a lot of our users (who are Macintosh based, mostly) get
very confused already when using Netscape or Eudora as to what is
happening on their local computer and what is actually on the server.
Running X inside a web server adds a third layer to this (to them)
already confusing situation, and worse still they have to get used to
the fact that although their copy of Netscape is a client to a web
server, the X plug-in inside it is acting as a server for clients on
the server machine (er... :-) )

I'm deliberately using slightly vague terminology here, to illustrate
the scope for massive confusion.

>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 prefer w2h, personally.  Mostly because it is integrated to some
extent with SeqLab, which means that users can switch between the two
without having to re-think they way they do their work.

>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.

True.  Judging by other conversations I have had, though, these
plugins do not make X very invisible.


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