Browse Prior Art Database

XML Web Application Based User Settings & Preferences

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016408D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Nov-07
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Document File: 3 page(s) / 44K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

XML Web Application Based User Settings Preferences A program is disclosed that saves user information, from a web browser, persistently on disk, in XML format, in context of a web application server. This user information could be the last item entered in an entry field, the state of a checkbox, or other user preferences, such as the colors to use for status.

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XML Web Application Based User Settings & Preferences

  A program is disclosed that saves user information, from a web browser, persistently on disk, in XML format, in context of a web application server. This user information could be the last item entered in an entry field, the state of a checkbox, or other user preferences, such as the colors to use for status.

When a user is surfing a web site, various information about the user's direct interaction with the web application needs to be persisted, such that the next time a particular web page is presented, components such as entry fields could have their last entered values pre-set in the entry field. Also, various user-specific preferences need to stored, such as the number of rows to display in a table, or the format of a timestamp. This information needs to be persisted, such that if the web application is restarted, the user's information is still retained. This idea describes a simple, and practical way to persist this data.

The problem solved is the process of persisting user information, on disk, without the overhead of a database, in context of a web application, on the web application server's machine.

The advantages are an easy-to-use (easy-to-program-to) component, to store user information, persistently on disk, using XML technology, all in context of a web application.

A Java class contains the entire algorithm to store and retrieve user information. The basic components of this Java class are: a) Initialization, b) a factory method to create an instance of the Java class, c) methods to set information, d) methods to get user information, e) a method to save the user information on disk.

a) Initialization: In a Web Application Server, when a web application is initialized, the web application calls a method in the Java class, which will use a Servlet 2.2 API method call to obtain the name of a temporary directory. This directory will contain the XML files written to, and read from, disk.

b) Factory method to create an instance of the Java class: When a web application needs to set or retrieve user information, one-and-only-one instance of this Java class per user is created. This prevents two different threads of execution to overlay the same XML file on disk. When the Java class is instantiated for the first time, the existing XML file on disk is read, and parsed; this primes the Java class for use (to 'set' and 'get' information from the XML file). There is one-and-only-one XML file on disk per user, just like there will be one-and-only-one Java class in memory. When this method is called by the using Java class, the user name is passed in, which is the qualifying name of the XML file on disk, and the Java instance in memory.

c) Methods to set information: Using the Java bean method, various setter methods are

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provided to save user specific information. The basic building blocks are the saving of
i) text data, ii) integer data, iii) an ordered list of...