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A technique to compose 'portal type' web pages by transforming and embedding web data using a JavaScript/servlet combination

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000030474D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Aug-17
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Aug-17
Document File: 2 page(s) / 46K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This article describes a technique to allow web page authors to compose portal-type web pages by dynamically transforming and embedding data from multiple sources (e.g. other web pages), without any additional server-side coding and in a manner which works with any browser that supports JavaScript.

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A technique to compose 'portal type' web pages by transforming and embedding web data using a JavaScript/servlet combination

Disclosed is a technique to allow web page authors to compose web pages which are constructed dynamically by embedding data from multiple sources (e.g. other web pages, XML data) without any additional server-side coding. Data can be transformed in a number of ways prior to embedding (e.g. XML can be transformed into HTML using XSLT transformations)

    The technique works with any browser that supports *JavaScript and allows the embedded content to be formatted as though it were part of the original page. This is achieved through a servlet that reads the source data, transforms it (e.g. using XSLT or a predefined transformation), then returns the required data as JavaScript code to a web page that embeds the JavaScript using the HTML tag <script src=> tag. Transformations are predefined in the servlet, but could include e.g. extracting the source page's main content and removing top and side navigation. The returned JavaScript code is normally just a stream of "document.write" calls that embed the transformed data into the target document.

    Existing client-side web authoring techniques are less flexible. Transformation of embedded data is normally not possible. Existing techniques allow content to be embedded in pages in specific ways (such as by using of the <div> and <ilayer> tags), but none work in all browsers (for example <ilayer> does not work in **Microsoft Internet Explorer and <div> does not work in the Netspace browser). Furthermore, these tags require certain areas of the page to be predefined for the embedded content, and do not allow the embedded content to be formatted as though it were part of the original page. Hence if the source page changes, it may no longer fit in the target page and appear clipped. Another existing solution is "server side embed" (e.g. as implemented by Apache Web Server), but this has the limitation that the source of the embedded data must be accessible by the same web server as the embedding page.

    Server-side programming solutions are the most common existing solution to the problem of dynamic page creation, (e.g. using JSPs). However, in large organisations, these are typically subject to strict controls and content authors are unable to change them, even in the unlikely event that they were skilled enough to do so. Page authors can often only write HTML type pages (typicall using an HTML editor). Generally web page authors and server side programmers are in separate areas within organisations, and it is more efficient if the web page authors can achieve what they need without having to involve the...