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Migrating to Modern Web Technologies - Experiences in Re-Designing a Substance Retrieval Systems

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Shaker Verlag


The successfully running search & retrieval applications for the substance database GSBL have been coming to age and need to reflect more the new needs of users dealing with modern networks and infrastructures. In its first version, the substance database GSBL used to be a classical desktop application. Performant access (the combination of throughput, response time, availability, and functionalities) was restricted to a narrow group of users having a desktop (fat) client installed. This allows a very performing client application with a wide range of functionalities which make this search & retrieval system unique in its class of substance information systems. Search and retrieval of substructures in more than 200.000 chemicals within a fraction of a second has been just one essential feature. With the growing of wider and better networks, more users and the approach to use software as a service, the obstacles of a pure client application become obvious. Innovative Web technologies and the availability of ever better performing networks allow to provide information to broad public more easily, faster and more convenient. Functionalities for search & retrieval do not need a fat client including installation and administration burdens. Just using your browser to get the same qualified information from everywhere you have access to the network was the aim of the re-design. Therefore, the cutting-edge technologies like Apache STRUTS, Ajax and JSTL were applied to create an easy to handle and efficient web application named 'GSBL Web application 3.0'. The following paper will describe the choice of technologies which fulfil best the needs of current and potential GSBL-users. This re-design allows continuing the successfully running service for environmental relevant information for chemical substances. The combination of continuously updated, comprehensive and reliable environmental data of the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) with InfoChem’s expertise in substance and structure handling make this application is an indispensable resource for public environmental authorities, first action forces, and governmental departments in the legislative process.


Menger, Matthias; Jahnke, Petra; Eiblmaier, Josef (2007): Migrating to Modern Web Technologies - Experiences in Re-Designing a Substance Retrieval Systems. Environmental Informatics and Systems Research. Aachen: Shaker Verlag. Trends in Environmental Information and Geographical Information Systems. Warschau. 2007