This is a short list of frequently asked questions about the PureWeb® platform. If you have other questions not answered on this page, do not hesitate to contact us.
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The PureWeb platform is a set of APIs and tools for building interactive and collaborative applications that deliver a seamless user experience, in real time, on web browsers and mobile devices.
Some of the key features include a low-latency imaging pipeline for advanced remote visualization of 2D and 3D graphics; flexible APIs for creating thin custom HTML5, iOS and Android client interfaces; synchronous real-time collaboration; and broad cross-platform support.
PureWeb is especially well suited to graphics-rich, interactive applications that could not otherwise run on personal devices because of hardware constraints, network limitations, or data security concerns.
The platform is used today in many different industries, including CAD, simulation, analytics, medical, oil and gas, and astronomy.
There are many challenges to overcome in order to make powerful, resource-intensive visualization software work smoothly in an online and mobile world of unsecured mass-market devices and low-bandwidth networks. The PureWeb platform is designed to address these issues.
We have a complicated, graphics-rich desktop application that we have built and tested over the course of many years. Customers are demanding a web/mobile solution, and we'd like to offer them one. However, rewriting and testing a new version of our application from scratch is a daunting prospect, and would require a significant amount of time.
Solution: The PureWeb platform doesn't replace your existing application, it simply extends it so that it behaves as a web service, thus preserving your investment. Once extended, your application can be deployed on premise or in the cloud, and accessed from any web browser or mobile device.
Users will not access and interact with our application the same way on a mobile device as they would a desktop version. Also, it would not make sense in our situation to expose all of the application functionality. We have looked into VDI, but it does not let us customize the user experience as required.
Solution: When it comes to the user experience, the PureWeb platform puts you in the driver seat: you choose on which devices your application will run, and you build functionality, interaction and workflow best suited to these devices and to your requirements. You can leverage touch and gesture capabilities appropriately, optimize the application for the device form factor, and expose as much or as little of the application functionality as is required. All this empowers you to expand the reach of your application to different users and use cases.
We want to provide web and mobile users with the same quality experience that they have on the desktop, with high performance and rich graphics, but hardware limitations on user devices are making this extremely difficult.
Solution: The PureWeb platform bypasses the constraints of low-end devices by running your application on server-grade hardware that can handle big data sets and execute high-end rendering and computational tasks. Thin clients that run on personal devices are used to remotely access your application. This provides every user with the same rich experience, regardless of their device's capabilities.
Our customers have extremely sensitive data. They would like to share this data with different stakeholders, but without risking their IP. Some have voiced concerns that their data could be compromised on end user devices.
Solution: The PureWeb platform keeps all data stored securely behind a firewall on the server. Only rendered images of the data are transferred over the network.
Our customer's data is too big to easily move around, keep synchronized, or share. This often results in limited and outdated screenshots of the data being used in meetings. Effective collaboration usually requires bringing users to the data rather than the other way around, but this requires significant time, preparation and travel for everyone involved.
Solution: The PureWeb platform allows you to store your data centrally and view it at full resolution from anywhere without having to move it. Multiple users in multiple locations can also access a shared view of the data simultaneously, enabling multi-site meetings and effective collaboration with workers in the field. As a result, you are always able to share the latest data with clients and stakeholders, speeding the overall decision making process.
We are very skilled in writing and deploying desktop applications, but we have little experience in developing web and mobile applications and in cloud deployment. We are not sure how we should move forward.
Solution: Our PureWeb Professional Services team can work with you to provide architectural guidance, recommend best practices, give training, and carry out development work as required.
If you are looking to make your software accessible from web browsers and mobile devices, you essentially have a choice between three very different paths: remote desktop/VDI, application rewrites, or API extensions. Below is a brief summary of each of these options, where PureWeb fits into this picture, and why the PureWeb approach offers unique advantages.
Other SDKs that fall in this category tend to focus on specific platforms: FEI RemoteViz, for instance, is designed to work with the Open Inventor graphical toolkit and HTML5 clients. Amazon AppStream works with Windows applications deployed on AWS and native client applications. PureWeb doesn't have the same limitations: it works for Windows and Linux applications, and supports a broad range of graphical toolkits, web and mobile client platforms, and deployment options. PureWeb also comes with built-in synchronous collaboration functionality.
PureWeb works with applications written in C++, C# (.Net) or Java on Windows, as well as applications written in C++ on Linux. It can be used to create brand-new applications from the ground up, or to modernize existing workstation or desktop software.
PureWeb can stream views rendered using a variety of graphical and UI toolkits: Open Inventor, HueSpace, the Visualization Toolkit (VTK), OpenGL, MFC, WinForms, DirectX, and more. Views can be encoded as binary JPG, PNG or H.264.
In addition, PureWeb is Unicode-compliant for multilingual support.
You create a thin custom HTML5, iOS or Android client interface, and use the PureWeb APIs to connect the UI elements to the business logic of the remote application. You then provide this interface to your users.
You can create as many different clients as you like, and you have full control over the feature set, so you can easily create clients for different platforms and different workflows (casual vs expert users, for example). And because the clients are simply thin interfaces (no business logic, no image processing, no data storage), creating them is not onerous.
If you create an HTML5 client, you simply provide your users with the URL address to this client, which they then access directly from their browser. No PureWeb-specific proprietary clients from Calgary Scientific, no plugin, no download, no install, no configuration. If you create a native iOS or Android client app, users will need to download your app on their mobile device.
The PureWeb platform itself does not require any special hardware or software. It can be used on any system running a recent version of Windows or Linux. To extend an application with the PureWeb APIs, developers would use the same IDE environment that they currently use, such as Microsoft Visual Studio or Eclipse. To create a web or mobile client interface, they would use the same tools as for developing a native application for the target device, such as Xcode for an iOS client, or any text editor of their choice for an HTML5 client.
End users do not need to go through unfamiliar or cumbersome installation and configuration procedures, either. HTML5 clients only require a browser, and iOS and Android clients are the same as any other app downloaded and installed on personal devices.
In terms of server-side deployment, the PureWeb platform supports many different options: on-premise, or in private or public clouds. You are not locked into a specific choice or proprietary solution.
PureWeb keeps source data files inside the original firewall where they are processed and stored; it doesn't move, copy or transmit them, and it doesn't store data on user devices. Instead, it simply streams images of the rendered final product. This conserves precious bandwidth, and tightly ensures that sensitive data is never at risk of loss or theft.
PureWeb’s synchronous real-time collaboration feature means that several users can interact simultaneously with your application; this works even if users are working from different client platforms (an HTML5 client and an iOS client, for instance). There are also tools for supporting markup over views.
The video below illustrates how the PureWeb® Design application is using the collaboration feature to help CAD designers collaborate in real time.
This functionality is built directly into PureWeb. To get basic collaboration working consists of a single call to the PureWeb API to create a share URL. The user hosting the collaboration session can then simply provide this URL to other users who want to join. Everything else is handled under the hood.
The PureWeb team is also working on expanding the collaboration functionality to include audio and video features. Stay tuned!
Please read the Technical Overview for a high-level walk-through of how PureWeb works.
The PureWeb platform is designed to be as lightweight and easy to integrate as possible; this being said, we understand that businesses do not always have the time or the expertise on hand. For this reason, Calgary Scientific offers services through its custom engineering department and its consulting partners, and can also work with your own partners or suppliers. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us.