The Thelma Project

Thelma Front Page

The Thelma Project - Next Generation Internet Interaction System

The goal of the Thelma project is to create a lightweight interaction framework based on Ajax technology. It will allow for easy access interaction directly from web pages without having to download a large heavy client.

The project is lead by Dr. Peter Parnes, research leader of the Media Technology research group and Chief Scientist at Marratech AB.


The project was created in February 2006 by this statement document, "Next Generation Internet Interaction System: Thelma".

Rich interaction on the Internet can be divided into two main categories, Instant Messaging or web based conferencing. The former comes from the approach of chat (couple or group) where you add media as you need them while the latter comes from a full application approach where an application is either pre-installed or downloaded on demand. This full application is (in most cases) targeted towards a meeting experience where all media are used for a limited period of time (a special case is the Virtual Office where a meeting is on going continuously for 24 hours a day) . In both cases the interaction is application bound and disconnected from the user activity and the downloading and installing of applications is a barrier for the interaction to start.

At the same time, the Internet is becoming more and more web centric where applications are developed to be run inside a web browser. Examples of such applications include Google Mail, Google Maps and Microsoft Live among many others. This new type of application deployment and usage is loosely referred to as Web 2.0.

A central part of Web 2.0 is the so called Ajax, Asynchronous JavaScript And XML framework, where applications are designed to run in a web browser asynchronously from the web server. I.e. the web server is only contacted for new web content when needed, and the local browser creates a user interface that allows the user to interact with the application and the local browser updates the presented information as needed. Relating to the Google Mail application mentioned above, the user interface is presented locally in the browser and raw mail information is fetched from the server and only when the users interacts in a way that creates persistent changes the web server is contacted. This should be compared to the traditional way of developing web applications where each page change and interaction generates a communication request to the web server which returns a new web page.

One major advantage of Ajax is that it is based on JavaScript which is a central part of all modern and popular web browsers, which in turn means that no extra browser plugin is needed to run the code and only a lightweight web application is downloaded. This allows for a very fast deployment as well as an integrated experience for the user.

Next Generation Internet Interaction, Thelma

With the goal to make rich interaction over the Internet less obtrusive, we propose a new approach to web based interaction where Ajax technology is utilized to create the Next Generation Internet Interaction System, called Thelma where the heavy rich interaction application is broken up into several smaller web application components supporting different types of interaction, e.g. chat, whiteboard, video, audio etc.

The Thelma components would allow web site creators to incorporate interaction possibilities directly into normal web pages. The web site creator would choose which types of interaction methods should be available on different web pages and how the interaction should be grouped between different pages or even different web sites.

Imagine that a group video component “follows” the user between various web pages when browsing a certain project server allowing for the browser to interact with other interested parties. This could be open to anybody in the world browsing that particular web server or it could be limited to a certain closed group (e.g. active participants in a specific project). Another example might be students attending a course or just web users interested in a specific topic, e.g. Lappish literature.

Recent Changes
2006-02-26 Created this project site.
2006-02-22 Published the Thelma position paper.
Project Partners
Project partners include Luleå University of Technology and the Media Technology research group, Marratech AB and the Centre for Distance-spanning Technology, CDT.



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