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A distributed web browser as a platform for running collaborative applications

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6 Author(s)
Yasushi Shinjo ; Department of Computer Science, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennoudai, Ibaraki 305-8573, Japan ; Fei Guo ; Naoya Kaneko ; Takejiro Matsuyama
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Most existing collaborative applications on the Web require centralized servers for storing shared data and relaying communication messages among browsers. This means that users of these applications must fully trust centralized servers that hold and relay potentially sensitive and important data. Furthermore, users can lose access to their data if centralized servers go out of service.This paper proposes building a distributed Web browser as a platform for Web-based collaborative applications to address these problems with centralized servers. A distributed browser consists of multiple browser nodes. Each node looks like a regular Web browser, is operated by a single user, but works together with other nodes. An application of the distributed browser runs across multiple nodes, and can make use of resources in both a local node and remote nodes. Multiple users can use a single application together. The distributed browser provides authenticated and secure inter-node communications for applications. This paper describes an implementation of a distributed browser, called Subspace. Subspace uses an instant messaging system, Skype, to perform user authentication and secure com- munication among browser nodes. Reusing the overlay network and social features of Skype makes the implementation of Subspace extremely simple. Several applications on Subspace including simple collaborative browsing and comment sharing have been developed. These implementations demonstrate that Subspace provides useful facilities utilized as a platform for developing Web-based collaborative applications.

Published in:

Collaborative Computing: Networking, Applications and Worksharing (CollaborateCom), 2011 7th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

15-18 Oct. 2011