Network applications are applications capable of selecting, at run-time, portions of their code to execute at remote network locations. By executing remote code in a restricted environment and providing convenient communication mechanisms within the application, network applications enable the implementation of tasks that cannot be implemented using traditional techniques. Even existing applications can realize significant performance improvements and reduced resource consumption when redesigned as network applications.
By examining several application domains, we expose specific desirable capabilities of a software infrastructure to support network applications. These capabilities entail a variety of interacting software development challenges for which we recommend solutions.
The solutions are applied in the design and implementation of a network application infrastructure, Jay, based on the Java language. Jay meets most of the desired capabilities, particularly demonstrating a cohesive and expressive communication framework and an integrated yet simple security model.
In all, network applications combine the best qualities of intelligent networks, active networks, and mobile agents into a single framework to provide a unique and effective development environment.
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