Group Adaptive System

Group Adaptive System

Group Adaptive System (GAS) is a collaborative and adaptive environment for web users. It provides  its users with interactive tools, awareness of others' activity, and a common information space, named Collaborative View.
GAS enables people in a group to perform asynchronous collaborative navigation on the web: in particular, people can interact and communicate with each other, be aware of group activity using footprints left on the pages, judge and comment viewed pages.  The systems puts together pages discovered by group members and suggestions by CLEVER-based model in order to provide participants with recommendations (new resources) based on group interest.
GAS user interface consists of the 3 elements a Tools bar, an Annotations bar and a Collaborative View. Tools and Annotations bars are embedded in the pages view, without to modify the ``original'' page display.

Access to GAS

The access point to the system is the GAS registration/log-in page showed in the Fig1. To use GAS, you must register and login. Once logged in, you can access any web page as you normally would - but the pages you see will have additional information embedded into them (the login phase is required when the user accesses GAS from a new browser instance).

Fig. 1   GAS Registration and Login Page
 

The User Interface

GAS user interface has three parts:  a Tools  bar an Annotations bar and a Collaborative View.
The Tools and Annotations bars are added directly to the pages you see in your browser window, while the Collaborative View pops up in another external window (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2   The User Interface.

The Collaborative View

The Collaborative View is located in its own little window, it displays links to pages (group navigated resource and system suggestions)  which group participants might be interested in. This shared space provides you a way to see where others in the group have been and a place where to start new navigations. The Collaborative View is unique for all group members, the pages linked are selected among those more interacted by the group, showed in the upper part of the page and those discovered by the system displayed in the bottom part. Link are titled as the pages are, or by their URL addresses. For each link footprints are provided to allow people to select links not only on their name or address but also on others information, as the score assigned ("the relevance" for the group) to that page or the users that interacted with it and so on.
 
This icon  allows you to display the list of users accessed the linked page 

Fig.3   The Collaborative View.  Fig. 4   A partial List of GAS participants 

The Tools Bar

Located near the bottom of the page, the Tools bar consists of a set of icon-links (see, Fig. 5 ). Simply click to take an action!
As described before GAS allows users to execute several types of "explicit" interactions on the pages: Add a comment to the current page (that others can see). Add a shortcut link from the current page to another page (so that you and others can quickly get there). Assign a relevance a numerical score (indicating the group how useful you find the current page). View the user list. Send a message to another member (only users that send and receive the messages can see them). All of these actions are executed by clicking the links showed on the Tools bar, for example dots represent the scores you can assign to the current page, easily clicking on the correspondent one.


Fig. 5. The tools bar
 

Comment a page
This link  enable you to add comment clicking on it a new pop-up window is opened to fill the comment.

Fig. 6 Fill the form to post a comment

Add a shortcut

Clicking on this link , you can add a shortcut to this page and related comment.

Fig. 7. Fill the form to add a shortcut

Go to your GAS homepage

Clicking on this icon  you can return to your GAS starting page.
 

The participants list

This icon  allows to access the participant list the pop up windows shows beside their names two icons respectively the link to send personal messages and the link to follow the navigation history of each participant.

Fig. 8 The list of participants.

View the users history

This icon  allow to access the user history; it is presented in a new window as follows

Fig. 9 View bbuio's history

Send a Personal Message

Clicking on this icon  a personal message can be sent to the selected user. A new window opens containing the form (see Fig.12) to be filled with the message text.
 

Fig. 10 Send personal messages See the navigation history of others.

Retrieve your personal messages

Personal messages you received are indicated by this icon  , that is showed beside your name in the user list. Clicking the icon a new popup window opens. It displays the list of links to pages on which others participants posted for you personal messages (see Fig. 13).

Fig. 11. List of pages on which you received personal messages

Score a page

You can assign a score for a page, in order to indicate how much you are interested in, clicking on one of these icons . The scores showed on a page is averaged on all participants assignments.

The Annotation Bar

Fixed at the top of each page, the Annotations bar (Fig. 14) consists of links that address the content of the annotations (comments, shortcuts and messages). The annotations content is showed in popup windows when the links are clicked. Popup windows allow to display and hide the contents without missing the context of the pages currently navigated and avoid modifying their structure.

Fig. 12. The Annotations bar

Read Comments

You can read comments group posted on a page clicking on this icon ; it shows them in a new pop up window as showed in the following figure. Comment that you posted are showed to you with the options remove and modify.

Remove a comment

hFig 13. Remove a comment.

Follow a Shortcut to another page

As for the comments, the Annotation Bar shows an icon to read shortcuts posted ; Clicking this  icon a pop up window is opened to display shortcuts and related comments

Remove a shortcut

Fig 14. Remove a shortcut.

Read personal messages

Clicking on this icon  a new window shows the personal messages some users post for you on the current page. Messages contents are showed with information about users who sent them.
 
 

Configure your system to use GAS

GAS is proxy-side system. In order to use GAS you must configure your browser proxy settings.
A browser can be configured to use a proxy in 2 different ways, through a manual configuration or an automatic configuration script file.  (See  http://www.vineyard.net/vni/faq/proxy.shtml or http://wp.netscape.com/eng/mozilla/2.0/relnotes/demo/proxy-live.html for more explanation on proxy automatic configuration).

To configure your Internet Explorer browser:
From the menu select Tools, go to Internet Options, Connections, LAN settings:

1) To use automatic configuration script, check the box "Use automatic configuration script" and write the file (.pac) address in the text field below (see following figures ) , for example, http://wonderland.dia.unisa.it/docs/gas.pac (this is the file for the proxy automatic configuration we provide) and press ok.  You can also download the configuration script to customize it for your needs.

2) To configure the manually the proxy setting check the box "Use a proxy server" and set the http proxy to host= http://utopia.dia.unisa.it/ port= 8088.
 

To configure your Netscape browser:
From the menu Edit, select Preferences, Advanced, Proxies:

1) Check the Automatic Proxy Configuration box and set the configuration location to http://wonderland.dia.unisa.it/docs/gas.pac  in order to use an automatic configuration script.

2) Check the Manual Proxy Configuration and set the field indicating the http proxy to http://utopia.dia.unisa.it/ port= 8088.

Note: It is required that both browser Netscape and IExplorer are enable to execute Java, JavaScript, and Style Sheets.

Here the automatic proxy configuration script file provided at http://wonderland.dia.unisa.it/docs/gas.pac
 

function FindProxyForURL(url, host) {

if(dnsDomainIs(host,"mail.yahoo.com" ))            // if the request invocates the host is "mail.yahoo.com"
                                                                       // or  if the proxy is down then the browser
       return "DIRECT";                                     // will connect directly to net bypassing the proxy
                                                                      // in each other case the request will pass through the proxy
return "PROXY utopia.dia.unisa.it:8088; DIRECT";

}
 

System requirements

GAS user interface has been tested on several systems.
The table below showes the working configuration.
 
 
              S.O.
 Browser 
  Linux (Suse 7.x) 
Windows 2000 
Windows XP
        IE 6.0 
yes 
yes
IE 5.5 
yes 
yes
IE 5.5 
            -           yes         yes
    Netscape 4.7x            yes           no          no 
    Netscape 6 
no 
         no          no 



Last modified: Wed Jun 26 08:17:10 CEST 2002