Full steam ahead towards Web 4.0

by Wolfgang Bloem

As web-based applications do not have to be locally installed on a PC, Mac or Tablet, they do not require any particular operating system. The only thing that users need: An internet-capable data terminal equipped with a web browser. That applies to virtually all devices used in companies these days. More advantages offered by web technology include its tremendous flexibility, high speed and integration capability for corresponding applications.

The SMART vision: One web user interface for everything

Viewed in terms of test systems and test benches, a web-based application could for example be used to control, monitor and, whenever required, optimise an individual test or a complete process comprising several tests from the Tablet computer of the test engineer responsible. The SMART vision is to equip all devices and systems with a standard web-based user interface so that various applications can be merged in the web browser to form a single application with the same look and feel throughout – to suit the requirements of the customer. This can then be operated from a PC with keyboard, from a Tablet, or even from a smartphone by way of a touch screen.

The web-based user interface of our Test unit for speed simulation and angle-based trigger signal generation ISIM-G2 represents the first step towards turning this vision into reality. When users call up the address of the web server integrated into the device in their browser, an application programmed in HTML 5.0 and Javascript will be loaded into the browser, known in the trade as a single-page app. This both contains a user interface and also implements data exchange with the device by setting up a permanent tunnel to the web server, a so-called WebSocket connection.

The web-based user interface is clearly arranged and offers intuitive operation. Entries appear immediately without having to re-load the page.

WebSocket makes web user interfaces bidirectional, interactive and extremely fast

The separation of display and content makes operation via a browser extremely fast. A normal website establishes a connection with the web server every time an entry is made and re-loads many of the elements on the page. That takes time. By contrast, the WebSocket connection ensures that only the useful data are exchanged. If the user enters a new value at some point in the device configuration, for example, only this value will be conveyed to the ISIM G2 and will then appear immediately at the appropriate point in the browser without having to re-load the entire page. The other way round, this also means that values transmitted from the tester to the browser will appear there immediately. The real-time presentation of measurement curves is thus possible. Communication via the WebSocket is bidirectional and event-driven

This technology offers test bench manufacturers the invaluable advantage of being able to integrate the visualisations and configuration menus created by SMART into their own test bench applications without any great effort. They simply have to incorporate a web browser engine into part of their user interface and the corresponding visualisation will then be loaded into this. That saves a tremendous amount of work.

The web-based user interface of the ISIM G2 is the first step towards turning our vision into reality. Others are to follow soon. To find out more about the advantages and potential offered by the technology, do not hesitate to contact me directly. Please send me an e-mail at wolfgang.bloem@smart-ts.de.

Thanks to its responsive design, the user interface adapts automatically to the monitor size concerned. The individual elements are then re-located or displayed as a tab.

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