The cesar project Wolfgang Appelt

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The CESAR Project

  • Wolfgang Appelt

  • GMD - German National Research Centre for Information Technology

  • Sankt Augustin


  • Provision of a

  • Comprehensive toolkit for asynchronous and synchronous multimedia collaboration

  • Based on Internet and WWW technology

  • Assembly and integration of state-of-the-art technology

  • Smooth transition between asynchronous and synchronous modes of cooperation

  • Cross-platform interoperability

  • Particular target groups: Trans-European research projects

  • Marketing name : BSCW

CESAR Consortium

  • Two development partners: - GMD (German National Research Centre for Information Technology) - SISU (Swedish Institute for Systems Developments)

  • Two User Support / Evaluation partners - horz informatik (Germany) - QuantiSci (UK)

  • Users groups - I*EARN (Schools) - COBRA/HIPS (TAP Projects) - OSP (Physicians/Hospitals)

BSCW - Basic Support for Cooperative Work

  • Groupware system based on the Shared Workspaces approach:

    • Container for information belonging to work tasks
    • Environment for (self-organised) groups
    • Members deposit relevant information (documents, note, spreadsheets, etc.) in the Workspaces
    • Members coordinate their cooperation (to a large extent) via the Shared Workspace
    • Primarily asynchronous cooperation
  • Particular approach of BSCW:

    • System based on Word-Wide Web (WWW)

Technical Approach of BSCW

  • Usual client/server architecture with BSCW Server and BSCW Client

  • BSCW Server: Extension of normal WWW server with Shared Workspace functionality

  • BSCW Clients: Users contact Shared Workspaces with normal WWW Browsers

Functionality of BSCW System

  • Administrational / organisational features

    • Creation of Shared Workspaces
    • Hierarchical structure of workspaces (folders)
    • Management of groups (add/delete members)
    • Information about activities in the workspace (awareness)
  • Operations

    • File transfer from local system to workspaces
    • Direct editing of (text) documents on BSCW server
    • Version management of documents
    • Document format conversion
    • Discussion forums
    • Search (BSCW objects, WWW)

Functionality of BSCW System (cont.)

  • Security features

    • Access control (user name, password)
    • Different access rights
  • Synchronous communication

  • And more ...

    • System administration tools

BSCW User Interface

Awareness Features

  • Event indicators provide activity awareness

  • Email notification

    • users can subscribe interest
    • receive „daily workspace activity report“
  • “Monitor“ Applet (Java)

    • user presence awareness
    • realtime activity awareness
    • allows to contact online users (chat session, message)

History of BSCW System

  • First public release in October 1995

  • Currently version 3.2 (3.3 June 1999)

  • Public accessible BSCW Server (

  • Ca. 18,000 registered users

  • Ca. 25,000 requests / 350 MB data exchange per day

  • Additional BSCW Server installations (several thousand downloads of server code)

  • Several ten thousands of users world-wide

  • Spin-off company: OrbiTeam Software GmbH

  • EC funding: CoopWWW (96-97), CESAR (98-99)

  • Used by many EC funded projects (e.g., project management)

Current Focus of CESAR

  • Java - based user interface

  • Enhanced awareness features

  • Session management services

  • Presentation management services

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