Feature

One Web site for all formats

Microsoft used the Tech Ed 2000 show to give the first public demonstration of new technology designed to simplify Web site design, writes Cliff Saran.

The server-based Adaptive User Interface technology, developed by Microsoft's intelligent interface team, provides a way for Web sites to customise information to the capabilities of different client devices.

The adaptive user interface uses an extension to Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) Web software, designed to provide an intelligent filter for Web content encoded in XML (Extensible Markup Language).

The filter uses the Microsoft Isapi programming interface to process XML on the server. Susan Chory, program manager at Microsoft, says it could be used to present information in different formats depending on the client device being used.

"On a cell phone the user accessing an online newspaper may be presented with headlines. A PocketPC device could display headlines and an abstract. A desktop PC would show the full newspaper article."

A key benefit of the technology, says Chory, is that the user will only require one URL to access a Web site, with different sites not being required to support Wap (Wireless Application Protocol), XML or HTML formats.

XML document types such as an invoice, could be presented in the same way using the filter technology.

The software is available for download on the Microsoft Developer's Network (MSDN) Web site. The full version requires Windows 2000 and Internet Information Server 5.0 but Chory says it will also run, albeit with a performance degradation, on Windows NT 4.0 and IIS 4.0.

Microsoft Adaptive User Interface

  • Enables a Web site to target individual devices

  • Processes XML on the server rather than client, which reduces network bandwidth

  • Single URL gives users access to a Web site optimised for their computing device


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    This was first published in July 2000

     

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