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Network based groupware systems are for supporting collaborations among a group of people who are engaged in a common task or goal using computers connected by a variety of networks including the Internet. A synchronous groupware system supports group members' collaborative activities at the same time. Due to the almost all of current synchronous collaborative systems have been implemented either using a centralized topology or a hybrid topology, the research presented in this paper has been devoted to investigation, design and implementation of a peer-to-peer (P2P) groupware system, called DSC, using a decentralized topology. As it does not use any server at all, peers in a group need to coordinately manage their group by themselves, and each peer has to fully handle the correct message passing by itself. The DSC system is implemented using the JXTA technology and platform that enable peers to find each other, form groups and exchange messages across firewalls and NATs. It currently offers three shared objects of Web browser, file viewer and drawing pad as well as a text chat tool. The synchronous controls of a shared space, the objects, telepointer and so on are also provided. Its evaluations with a practical test environment are given in detail.
Date of Conference: 3-5 Dec. 2003