Integrating Application Programs for Bioinformatics Using a Web Browser

Yutaka Ueno (
Kiyoshi Asai (
Masanori Arita (

Machine Understanding Division, Electrotechnical Laboratory
1-1-4 Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8568, Japan


We have constructed a general framework for integrating application programs with control through a local Web browser. This method is based on a simple inter-process message function from an external process to application programs. Commands to a target program are prepared in a script file, which is parsed by a message dispatcher program. When it is used as a helper application to a Web browser, these messages will be sent from the browser by clicking a hyper-link in a Web document. Our framework also supports pluggable extension-modules for application programs by means of dynamic linking. A prototype system is implemented on our molecular structure-viewer program, MOSBY. It successfully featured a function to load an extension-module required for the docking study of molecular fragments from a Web page. Our simple framework facilitates the concise configuration of Web softwares without complicated knowledge on network computation and security issues. It is also applicable for a wide range of network computations processing private data using a Web browser.

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Japanese Society for Bioinformatics