US 20080155012 A1
A user may access a host server and receive display information within a single browser window. The display information includes at least one lens, wherein each lens controls server side web browsing and allows the user to view a separate web page from the Internet. The host server provides personalized web browsing capability specific to a particular user independent of the browser, device or location of the user. After the user submits a request to view a particular web page, the web page information is retrieved by the host server and transmitted to the user for display within a selected lens. Each lens controls server-side web browsing through independent navigational controls, such as a horizontal and vertical scroll bar, a resize button and the like. One lens may also control the web content displayed in another lens. The host server may reformat entire web pages so that they can be displayed within a lens without the need for scrolling. Additionally, each lens may have multiple cookies associated therewith. Users may further submit bookmarks which are applicable to one or more of the lenses. Bookmarks may be recognized through initiating a single command.
1. A method, performed by a host server, for bookmarking a web page presented to a user at a remote device, comprising:
transmitting a web page corresponding to a received uniform resource locator, said web page for display in a window of a browser on said remote device;
receiving at the host server a single command from said user to bookmark said web page; and
storing a bookmark identifier by the server corresponding to said web page.
2. The method of
3. A method for bookmarking a web page received by a user at a remote device, comprising:
receiving a web page corresponding to a uniform resource locator, said web page displayed in a window; and
transmitting a single command to a host server to bookmark said web page.
4. The method of
5. A host server for bookmarking a web page presented to a user at a remote device, comprising:
A processor and storage device operative with a program running on the host server to:
(i) receive a uniform resource locator transmitted by said user through a window of a browser on said remote device;
(ii) transmit a web page corresponding to said uniform resource locator for display in said window;
(iii) receive a single command from said user to bookmark said web page; and
(iv) store a bookmark identifier corresponding to said web page.
6. The host server of
7. A remote device for bookmarking a web page received by a user from a host server, comprising:
a storage device; and
a processor connected to the storage device, the storage device storing a program for controlling the processor;
the processor operative with the program to,
(i) transmit a uniform resource locator to said host server through a window of a browser on said remote device;
(ii) receive a web page corresponding to said uniform resource locator displayed in said window; and
(iii) transmit a single command to bookmark said web page.
8. The remote device of
9. A computer readable medium having computer executable software code stored thereon for bookmarking a web page presented by a host server to a user at a remote device, comprising:
code for receiving a uniform resource locator transmitted by said user through a window of a browser on said remote device;
code for transmitting a web page corresponding to said uniform resource locator for display in said window;
code for receiving a single command from said user to bookmark said web page; and
code for storing a bookmark identifier corresponding to said web page.
10. The computer readable medium of
11. A computer readable medium having computer executable software code stored thereon for bookmarking a web page received by a user on a remote device, comprising:
code for transmitting a uniform resource locator to a host server through a window of a browser on said remote device;
code for receiving a web page corresponding to said uniform resource locator displayed in said window; and
code for transmitting a single command to bookmark said web page.
12. The computer readable medium of
This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/565,155, filed May 3, 2000, which claims priority from provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/187,434, entitled SERVER-SIDE WEB BROWSING AND MULTIPLE LENS SYSTEM, METHOD AND APPARATUS filed in the name of Hiang-Swee Chiang on Mar. 7, 2000, the entirety of which is incorporated by reference herein.
A server-side web browsing and multiple lens system, method and apparatus directed to electronic document processing, and more particularly directed to structured electronic documents (e.g. HTML, XML) which present multiple web pages within a single browser window.
In general, computer application programs may be implemented in two ways. First, a user may load and execute a local application program. Local application programs have processing instructions that are stored in a memory of the same computing device from which the user executes commands. In order to receive upgrades to these applications, a user must download and install any new version of the software. Because such local applications are also computer specific, they also do not provide personalized web browsing capability specific to a particular user and independent of the browser, platform, machine and/or location of the user.
Remote applications are accessed and implemented by a user over a computer network, such as the Internet. Generally, a user may access a remote server and request that an application be activated. The remote server then transmits display data and processing instructions to the user's computing device over the network. Such “thin-client” devices, e.g., wireless and handheld devices, are limited by memory, screen size, processing and bandwidth constraints. In applications involving such devices, the commands must first be transmitted from the user's computing device to the remote server that runs the application. These applications are advantageous in that any upgrades to the software may be implemented by an operator of the server, rather than being downloaded and installed by each individual user.
One type of frequently-used application program is a web browsing application or “browser” which is generally used to view information on the Internet, such as pages of HTML data, graphical data (e.g. data presented in a GIF format, TIFF format or JPEG format), and multimedia presentations (e.g. data presented in MPEG formats). Most common web browsers present a single display area in which web page content is presented. Examples of such browsers include INTERNET EXPLORER 3.0 and NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR 4.0. The window in which the browser is active typically has navigational controls such as a horizontal scroll bar, a vertical scroll bar, a minimize command button, a maximize command button, a forward command button, a backward command button and a close window lens command button. Such controls are specific to the browser application in the displayed window and are typically implemented by the operating system (e.g. WINDOWS 95/98/NT/2000) rather than the browser itself.
Typically, users will visit more than one web page or web site in each browsing session, and will often want to return to and make comparisons with a previously-viewed page. Consequently, browsers with a single display area are troublesome in that a user must open multiple windows on their computing device if they wish to view more than one web page at a time. To view a previous page in such browsers, the user must repeatedly select a “back” button until the previously-viewed page is displayed. These limited features inhibit navigation on the Internet. Limited navigation ability is particularly pertinent to thin-client devices where memory, screen size, processing and bandwidth are constrained or limited.
Recently, several browsers have been introduced which provide separate display areas that allow viewing of more than one web page. One example of this type of browser is INTERNET EXPLORER 5.0 which allows a designated search page to be presented in a smaller display area of the window in which the browser is active. A larger display area is provided within the same window to view a current web page accessed by the user. However, INTERNET EXPLORER 5.0 does not provide separate navigational controls for the separate display areas within the window. Also, a user may not specify a web page other than a designated search page for presentation in the smaller display area.
A second example of a multiple-view web browser is the browser of BROADPAGE.COM. Each display area in the BROADPAGE.COM browser has independent navigational controls. However, the browser is a local application, not a remote application. Furthermore, multiple views are, presented in a tiled fashion rather than side-by-side, so that portions of previously viewed documents become partially obscured when selecting a new web page to view. The browser of KATIESOFT.COM is another example of a local application where the multiple views are presented in a non-ovarlapping manner.
In addition to the shortcomings presented above, current browsers suffer from other limitations in their functionality. For example, browsers typically include the ability to bookmark a web page that is being viewed. Bookmarking, as referred to herein, is the process by which a user designates that a web page identifier (e.g. a uniform resource locator (URL)) is to be stored within the browser so that, upon later selection of the stored address, the web page may be viewed. Currently, several steps must be taken to bookmark a web page after it is presented to the user. First, the user must typically activate a general bookmark command button. Next, the user must designate that the bookmark is to be added to a bookmark folder, and, perhaps, determine a location within the folder to which the bookmark information is to be stored. Finally, a confirmation of the bookmark must be entered. Thus, bookmarking has traditionally been a multi-step process.
Another disadvantage of common browser systems is that bookmarks are saved in the local computer device. Thus, they are not portable from one device to another.
Still another disadvantage of common browsers is that they generally do not allow the entire content of a web page to be viewed at once. Many web pages contain content, the size or length of which may exceed the display area of a browser window. Typically, browsers rely on the scroll bar functions provided by the operating system to allow a user to scroll through the web site content. The ability to reformat a web page so that its entire content can be viewed within the display area of a window without scrolling has not been possible in earlier browsing systems. The need for reformatting web pages is particularly pertinent to thin-client devices with limited screen displays.
The above-identified problems are solved and a technical advance is achieved by a server side web browsing and multiple lens system, method and apparatus. One advantage of the system, method and apparatus is that a host server presents centralized memory and processing to facilitate communications with thin-client devices.
Another advantage of the host server is to present multiple web page information to a user through server-side programming, which facilitates web page persistence across session, browser, device and location, i.e., the host server provides personalized web browsing capability specific to a particular user independent of the browser, platform, device and/or location of the user.
Yet another advantage of the host server is that it enables translations on the fly from one protocol received from a third party server to another protocol for display to a user on a remote device. For example, the remote server can reformat web content received from a third party server so that it can be displayed within the display area of a user's device. Consequently, a user may view the entire contents of a reformatted web page within the display area of a single lens or browser window, i.e., a miniaturized full view screen in lieu of using a horizontal or vertical scroll bar. The host server can further translate any input language (e.g., HTML, CSS, XML, 20 XSL, XHTML, WML) to any output language (e.g., HTML, WML) for display to a particular use.
Still another advantage of the host server is that it provides a centralized memory to store bookmarks and cookies so that they are portable from one device to another device. It is a further advantage of the system, method and apparatus that a user may bookmark a web page or a plurality of web pages with a single command and store it.
It is yet another advantage of the system, method and apparatus that each lens may have multiple cookies associated therewith. Alternatively, a cookie may be stored so that it is associated with a particular user regardless of the browser, platform, device and/or location of the user. Storing cookies on the server-side allows an unlimited number and size of cookies to be stored per user or lens. The server-side storage capacity for such cookies is particularly pertinent to thin-client devices which have limited storage capacity.
Still another advantage of the system, method and apparatus is that a user may simultaneously view and interact with a plurality of web pages within a single browser window through one or more lenses wherein each lens controls server-side web browsing through an independent and full range of navigational controls, i.e., full browser control capability.
An advantage of the server-side browsing capability of the system, method and apparatus is that it enables multiple browsers for thin-client devices limited by memory, screen size, processing and bandwidth constraints.
Yet another advantage of the system, method and apparatus is that one lens can control the web content displayed in another lens. For example, one lens can be used to conduct a search and the results of the search can be displayed in another lens.
In one embodiment, the system, method and apparatus presents web content to a user at a remote device. According to the embodiment, a host server transmits display information to the user comprising at least one lens for presentation within a window of a browser on the user's device. Any number of lenses can be used in the system, method and apparatus. In alternative embodiments, the number of lenses are two, four or a plurality of lenses.
Each lens controls server-side web browsing and is operative to display a separate web page upon receiving a uniform resource locator or other web identifier (collectively “URL”) from the user. Each lens controls server-side browsing through any number and type of navigational controls such as a uniform resource locator entry field, a horizontal scroll bar, a vertical scroll bar, a minimize command button, a maximize command button, a close lens command button, a forward command button, a backward command button, a bookmark command button, a reformat command button or a menu command button. In another embodiment, a lens may have a full range of navigational controls, i.e., full browser control capability. In still another embodiment, one lens may control the web content displayed in another lens.
In other embodiments, the host server may receive an identifier from a user, verify the identifier and transmit display information to the user, such that the user has web page persistence across session, platform, browser, device and location. The host server may also store at least one cookie associated with each lens or with a user's identifier. The host server may further receive a single bookmark command to bookmark a web page presented to a user and store a bookmark identifier corresponding to the web page.
In still another embodiment, the host server translates any protocol received by a third party server to a second protocol to be presented to a user on a remote device. The server receives from a third party server web page display data in a first language, such as hypertext markup language (HTML), cascading style sheet language (CSS), extensible markup language (XML), extensible stylesheet language (XSL), extensible hypertext markup language (XHTML) or wireless markup language (WML) and translates the data into a second language, such as HTML or WML, for presentation on the remote device.
In yet another embodiment, the web page display data received by the host server from a third party server is reformatted by the host server so that substantially all of the display data can be displayed within the display area of the lens or window on the remote device. The server determines the size of the display area of the lens or window of a remote device. If the size of the display data is greater than the size of the display area, the server reformats the display data so that it can be presented with the display area of the lens. The server can reformat the size of the display data to be substantially equal to the size of the display area. Alternatively, if the size of the display data is less than the size of the display area, the server can reformat the size of the display data to be substantially equal to the size of the display area.
In still another embodiment, a user transmits a request to the server to reformat a web page. In response to the request, the host server reformats the web page so that substantially all of the display data is displayed within the display area of the user's lens or window, such that the user does not have to use a horizontal or vertical scroll bar to view the data. In an alternative embodiment, the web page can be reformatted by the server to any percentage of its original size selected by the user.
It is not intended that the server-side web browsing and multiple lens system, method and apparatus be summarized here in its entirety. For example, the system, method and apparatus is also directed to a remote device for receiving display information from the host server, including at least one lens present within a window of a browser on the remote device, wherein each lens controls server-side web browsing. The system, method and apparatus is further directed to a computer readable medium having computer executable software code stored thereon for presenting, through a host server, web content to a user at a remote terminal and for receiving web content at a remote device. Further features, aspects and advantages of the system, method and apparatus are set forth in or are apparent from the following brief and detailed descriptions and drawings and claims which follow.
Further aspects of the server-side web browsing and multiple lens, system, method and apparatus will be more readily appreciated upon review of the detailed description set forth below when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, of which:
It will be understood that the foregoing brief description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory of this invention, but are not intended to be restrictive thereof or limiting of the advantages which can be achieved by this invention. Thus, the accompanying drawings, referred to herein and constituting a part hereof, illustrate embodiments of this invention and, together with the detailed description, serve to explain the principles of this invention.
Referring now to
Each lens controls server-side web browsing through independent navigational controls. The controls allow a user to, inter alia: (i) select a web page URL to be displayed; (ii) navigate backward and forward through a viewing history of web pages; (iii) scroll up or down or from side to side; (iv) maximize or minimize selected web pages; and (v) bookmark a web page with a single command. Such server-side browsing is accomplished by a server which presents command buttons or text entry fields having embedded commands associated therewith. The embedded commands generally take the form of:
The commands used to implement the server-side web browsing and multiple lens system generally include the following:
In an example of the use of these commands, a server 16 may authenticate a user who is accessing the multiple lens system. After authentication, the user, through the local web browser, transmits to the server 16 a redirection command including the JLSShowCurrentDesktop command. The server 16 may reply to the command by, for example, outputting HTML framing commands which set title bars, status bars, display areas and borders for all the lenses to be displayed in a window controlled by the local browser. When the user wants to change the layout of the window or when the user adds or removes lenses from the window, the local browser transmits a JLSShowTile command to the server 16 which in turn will tile all the lenses according to current row and column parameters.
Turning again to
Remote devices 2, 4, 6 may each be any type of computing device, such as a personal computer, a workstation, a network terminal, a hand-held remote access device, a personal digital assistant (PDA) or any other device, including wireless devices, that can accomplish two-way electronic communication over the network connection 8. Specific functions and operations of user devices 2-6, third-party web site servers 10, 12, 14 and application host server 16 are discussed further below.
Turning now to
Processor 20 operates in conjunction with random access memory and read-only memory. The random-access memory (RAM) portion of RAM/ROM 26 may be a suitable number of Single In-line Memory Module (SIMM) chips having a storage capacity (typically measured in kilobytes or megabytes) sufficient to store and transfer, inter alia, processing instructions utilized by processor 20 which may be received from application programs 24. The read-only memory (ROM) portion of RAM/ROM 26 may be any permanent non-rewritable memory medium capable of storing and transferring, inter alia, processing instructions performed by processor 20 during a start-up routine of server 16.
Clock 28 may be an on-board component of processor 20 which dictates a clock speed (typically measured in MHz) at which processor 20 performs and synchronizes, inter alia, communication between the internal components of server 16.
Input/output device(s) 30 may be one or more known devices used for receiving operator inputs, network data, and the like and transmitting outputs resulting therefrom. Accordingly, exemplary input devices may include a keyboard, a mouse, a voice recognition unit and the like for receiving operator inputs. Output devices may include any known devices used to present data to an operator of the server 16 or to transmit data over the computer network 1 to a remote user or customer. Accordingly, suitable output devices may include a display, a printer and a voice synthesizer connected to a speaker.
Other input/output devices 30 may include a telephonic or network connection device, such as a telephone modem, a cable modem, a T-1 connection, a digital subscriber line or a network card, for communicating data to and from other computer devices over computer network 1, such as remote device 2. In an embodiment involving a network server, communications devices used as input/output devices 30 can have capacity to handle high bandwidth traffic in order to accommodate communications with a large number of users 2-6.
Memory 22 may be an internal or external large capacity device for storing computer processing instructions, computer-readable data, and the like. The storage capacity of the memory 22 is typically measured in megabytes or gigabytes. Accordingly, memory 22 may be one or more of the following: a floppy disk in conjunction with a floppy disk drive, a hard disk drive, a CD-ROM disk and reader/writer, a DVD disk and reader/writer, a ZIP disk and a ZIP drive of the type manufactured by IOMEGA CORP., and/or any other computer readable medium that may be encoded with processing instructions in a read-only or read-write format. Further functions of and available devices for memory 22 will be apparent.
Memory 22 may store, inter alia, a plurality of programs 24 which may be any one or more of an operating system such as WINDOWS 2000 by MICROSOFT CORP., and one or more application programs, such as a web hosting program. The programs 24 may include processing instructions for accomplishing a server-side web browsing system as described herein.
Turning now to
In order to complete the sign-in, the user may enter a user name or other unique identifier into user name field 162 and may further enter a password into password field 164 (step 32). An optional field such as company field 166 may be provided for those users that subscribe to the server 16 through a group affiliation, such as a corporation. Upon entering the field information into field 162, 164 and 166, the user may transmit such information to the remote server by selecting the sign-in button 168 with a pointing device, such as a mouse. If the information has been entered incorrectly or if the user decides not to log into the server 16, the user may select the cancel command button 158 to abort the sign-in.
After signing in, the server 16 may verify the sign-in information provided by the user, e.g., confirm its validity, and transmit a screen display such as that depicted in window 180 of
In one embodiment, one lens may control the web content displayed in another lens. For example, a user may use a first lens as a search engine to conduct an informational search on any topic. The results of the search can be directed by the first lens to be displayed in a second lens.
In some cases, the validity of the sign-in information may be confirmed by matching the user-entered information to user data stored by server 16 in memory 22. The stored user data may be in the form of a secure database (not shown) having a number of records and fields for storing user names, passwords, company affiliation information, a history of web pages viewed by the user, and the like. If there is no data that matches the user-entered information, then the user may not access the server. Otherwise, the process 30 continues as described below.
From step 34, the user may decide to enter a new page to view, bookmark a page, view a previous page in the user's history or view a next page in the viewer's history. If the user chooses to enter a new web page to view, the process continues to step 36 where the user selects the menu command button 192 from one of the lenses 171, 173, 181, 183 in which the user chooses the web page to be displayed. The menu command button 192 may be selected by using a pointing device such as a mouse or by using a tab feature on the device 2 to select the menu command button 192. The local web browser residing on the user's device 2 then electronically forwards the command over network connection 8 to the application host server 16 (step 38). In response to the received command, the server 16 can return a menu web page 175 as depicted in
The hierarchical tree structure or menu web page 175 enables the user to select a number of options, including selecting a bookmark folder 172, a history folder 174, and a field 176 for entering a URL. The menu web page may further contain a news folder for selecting news articles or web sites, a web portal folder for selecting a desired portal, an intranet option for selecting intranet files, and an extranet folder for selecting extranet files. If the user selects the bookmark folder, the process 30 continues to step 88, as discussed below with respect to
As described above with respect to step 34, a user may proceed to bookmark a web page after the remote server transmits display information to the user. In such a case, the process 30 continues to step 46 where the user selects the bookmark button 194 in a lens in which the desired web page is displayed. The browser residing on the user's device 2 then transmits the bookmark command to the server 16 over network connection 8 (step 48). The bookmark command may be performed in a single step, that is, by selecting the bookmark command button 194 without additional inputs. The server 16 may then store the bookmark in a location which is accessed through the user's bookmark folder 172 (step 50). The server 16 may then refresh the current web page being viewed (step 52) which is then displayed in the appropriate lens on the user's device 2 (step 54), after which the process 30 returns to step 34, described above.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
In processing the web page display data received from a third party server, the host server can translate such data on the fly for presentation on a user device. For example, data received from a third party server may be in any form, including HTML, CSS, XML, XSL, XHTML or WML. The host server can translate such data into any other form, such as HTML or WML, for presentation on a user's device. As discussed further below, the host server can further reformat web page data received from a third party server on the fly.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Turning now to
In addition to providing a user with the ability to view multiple web sites in a suitable number of lenses within a single browser window, and to navigate through different web sites using command buttons presented by a remote server 16, one embodiment allows a user to maximize a selected web page within the browser window. A process 131 for maximizing and minimizing one of a plurality of web pages within a single browser window is presented in
The user may fill in a user name and password in the appropriate fields 162 and 164, as well as affiliation information, if applicable, and selects the sign-in button 168 (step 132). The local browser then transmits the sign-in request to the server 16 over network connection 8 (step 134). Upon receipt, the server 16 matches the received sign-in information to valid, stored user sign in data, and authenticates the user if matching data is found (step 136). The server 16 may also retrieve the last web pages viewed by the user and generates display data including at least two frames which display the last web pages viewed (step 138). The display information is then transmitted over network connection 8 to the user device 2 for display to the user (step 140). The display information may include HTML FRAME or IFRAME commands for generating the multiple lens display. The process 130 then continues to step 142, described immediately below.
Turning now to
Turning now to
In another embodiment, it is possible for the server to store multiple cookies for each lens of the user's display. Cookies refer to files transmitted by third-party servers 10, 12, 14 and which are typically stored in memory 22 of a user's device 2. The cookies may serve to identify the user to the third-party server. Rather than storing cookies on the user's device 2, the server 16 may store the cookies in the server's memory 22 and associate the same with the particular user. Cookies may be further designated as belonging to a particular lens of the user's multiple lens display rather to the user in general.
In still another embodiment, the display information may be configured by the server 16 so that substantially all the content of a selected web page may be reformatted to fit within the display area of a lens or browser window. Typically, a web page contains more data than will fit within the display area of a window. In such a case, horizontal and vertical scroll bars 187, 185 are provided so that a user may view all the content of the web page. However, it may be desirable to allow the user to view the entire content at once. Accordingly, the system, method and apparatus allow the server to reformat the display information received from a third party server 10 so that substantially all the content of a web page can be presented within the display area of a lens or a local browser window. This may be accomplished by reducing the font size of the text of the web page, compressing pixel data associated with the web content, or in any other manner. The display data of a selected web page may be reformatted to present substantially all content of the web page within the display area of each lens, either automatically or in response to a user request. A user can request that the web page display data be reformatted to any percentage of its original size. Alternatively, the system can be utilized to increase the size of web page data so that it is substantially the same size as a larger display area.
The server-side web browsing and multiple lens system, method and apparatus enables dynamic miniaturized viewing of web pages. The system, method and apparatus is particularly suitable for thin-client technology where the viewing screen is on a small scale basis, such as in a multiple lens system described herein wherein the display area of each lens may be substantially smaller than the browser window, or in hand-held remote access wireless devices or PDA's.
The system uses cascading style sheet technology to reduce the default text size of a web page. It also transforms the width, height and size attributes to HTML tags such as <table>, <td>, <img>, and <font>. In an exemplary illustration of the transformations, the system is programmed to reduce the view size by 50%. The system sets the default text size using cascading style sheet to 8 point size where the normal size is 12 point size. The system also reduces the width, height and size attributes of HTML tags such as <table>, <td>, <img>, and <font>, to half the original value. An example of a reformatted web page shown in its reduced size is illustrated in
In an alternative embodiment, the system can be programmed to automatically reduce or enlarge the view size of a web page to any percentage of its original size, e.g., 50%, 75%, 125%, 150%, 200%. Alternatively, the system can reduce or enlarge the view size of a web page to any percentage selected by a user.
Although illustrative embodiments have been described herein in detail, it should be noted and understood that the descriptions have been provided for purposes of illustration only and that other variations both in form and detail can be made thereupon without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. The terms and expressions have been used as terms of description and not terms of limitation. There is no limitation to use the terms or expressions to exclude any equivalents of features shown and described or portions thereof and this invention shown be defined with the claims that follow.