Sixth International World Wide Web Conference

Responsive Interaction for a Large Web Application

The Meteor Shower Architecture in the WebWriter II Editor

Arturo Crespo
Stanford University

Bay-Wei Chang
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center

Eric A. Bier
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center


Traditional server-based web applications allow access to server-hosted resources, but often exhibit poor responsiveness due to server load and network delays. Client-side web applications, on the other hand, provide excellent interactivity at the expense of limited access to server resources. The WebWriter II Editor, a direct manipulation HTML editor that runs in a web browser, uses both server-side and client-side processing in order to achieve the advantages of both. In particular, this editor downloads the document data structure to the browser and performs all operations locally. The user interface is based on HTML frames and includes individual frames for previewing the document and displaying general and specific control panels. All editing is done by JavaScript code residing in roughly twenty HTML pages that are downloaded into these frames as needed. Such a client-server architecture, based on frames, client-side data structures, and multiple JavaScript-enhanced HTML pages appears promising for a wide variety of applications. This paper describes this architecture, the Meteor Shower Application Architecture, and its use in the WebWriter II Editor.