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May 6, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:05pm


By CBR Staff Writer

TriTeal Corp claims the internet agent technology which is part of the SoftNC user interface that IBM Corp has licensed for use on its network computers, is a true push technology that eliminates the polling required with other push mechanisms from the likes of Marimba, Intermind or Netscape. TriTeal, like Tibco’s TIB technology, uses multicasting to broadcast individual packets to multiple users simultaneously. Indeed, the two companies are in negotiations as TriTeal wants to work with Tibco’s technology because it is capable of running on Unix and AS/400 enterprise servers and is widely used in Wall Street. TriTeal’s director of strategic technology John Warner said the company set a goal of getting its agent technology in less than 2Mb, including the Java virtual machine, which he said it had achieved. The agent technology was the company’s answer to what it found to be an ever expanding Java desktop it found itself constructing. By moving functions to the server, the desktop could be made thinner, but it presented a whole new set of client to server communications problems, which is where the agent technology comes in. The agent request broker sits on the server and sends and receives messages from the client and to and from server applications. All the client does is listen for multicast messages from the broker. Each object on the desktop is just a URL. If a user clicks on a desktop icon – say, the user wants to open a word processor – a message is sent to the broker, which then relays a message to the server application required. The application is then opened on the server, not on the client and the only time messages need to go back to the server is if a user actually wants to edit a file, this cutting down on unnecessary communications between the client and the server. Another example is TriTeal’s file manager agent that is one of the two IBM has licensed to use. A message is sent from the client to the agent request broker that the user wants to move a file from one place to another. The broker looks for the agent on the server that moves files, and then notifies the client that it has taken place, so the client’s display can be updated. The message only comprise HTML to update the icon, and the URL of the object that’s stored in RAM. IBM’s also taken TriTeal’s printer agent that locates a printer, and reports back to the client when a job is printed, or notifies of any problems. TriTeal also has a user agent that sits on the net and represents the user. It can handle requests when the user is logged on, for instance responding by email in a way defined by the user, according to Warner.

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