Scilab has hitherto been single-user access only,
having to be installed on the user's own computer
in order to run, which limits access to the software.
We asked ourselves whether it would be posssible to
enable multi-user access to Scilab through a client/server
model, which would also make it possible to use a
powerful remote server to calculate huge problems
within Scilab. We also decided to explore the possiblity
of accessing Scilab directly through an HTPP address
or thin client software.
Scilab Anywhere meets all these goals!
Scilab Anywhere consists of server and client software.
By running Scilab Anywhere on a computer with Internet
access, it can connect to the appropriate Scilab server
no matter where it is located. The user can benefit
from the powerful functions and convenient operations
of Scilab without having to spend a lot of time downloading
and installing it locally. In view of the different
requirements of Linux and Windows and different server/client
requirements, Scilab AnyWhere is available in Browser/Server
and Client/Server patterns, and for both Linux and
Windows. The user of Scilab Anywhere will not experience
of any difference from using the single-user access
1. Internet connectivity - a great way to
extend Scilab's user-base.
As internet and networking technology develops, more
and more applications are breaking the stand-alone
mode. Scilab Anywhere brings this usability to Scilab,
combining Scilab and internet/networking technology
organically. Scilab Anywhere allow users to work with
Scilab without having to install it on their local
machine. They merely need to download and install
thin client (C/S pattern) software, or use their preferred
browser (B/S pattern), through which they can experience
the great power of Scilab and do nearly all tasks
that the "real Scilab" can do.
Furthermore, if someone merely wishes to try out
Scilab, they no longer need to spend time in searching
for the software, and then downloading and installing
the full programme before they can do so. Scilab Anywhere
gives the ability to try out the power of Scilab through
downloading a very thin client application that is
quick to install and can be up and running immediately,
or even by simply opening a URL in their preferred
browser. Furthermore, users can pass the ability to
access Scilab along to colleagues or friends simply
by sending them an HTTP address.
Scilab Anywhere thus gives major benefits in terms
of extending the user base of Scilab.
2. Expand the calculating power of Scilab
- running Scilab on a server with access through remote
Scilab is an extremely powerful calculating application.
However, owing to hardware limitations in their personal
computer, many users cannot benefit from it to the
full. Scilab Anywhere overcomes this problem. With
Scilab Anywhere, the users desktop or laptop computer
becomes a client workstation linked to a powerful
remote server, sharing its abundant resources for
calculating and storage. Furthermore, if PVS co-operation
is available, the even greater power of a computer
group can be accessed. To this end, we intend to develop
a user login and management system. Authorised users
will be able to use the server to store data, perform
calculations and save the results, with full certification
and control. In this way, with a security system and
delaminated control installed, the users personal
computer will become a powerful scientific calculating
workstation. The great benefit of Scilab Anywhere
is that all this will be realisable simply by using
a thin client or even a browser.
3. Multi-platform usage - meeting users'
requirements on different platforms
As Linux is developing, both the system itself and
the UI, more and more people are opting for it as
their preferred operating system. Scilab Anywhere
has been developed with users' platform requirements
very much in mind. The C/S pattern includes two client
modes to satisfy the needs of both Linux and Windows
users. The B/S pattern is not platform sensitive and
the power of Scilab is therefore available on any
machine with an installed browser. The B/S pattern
of Scilab Anywhere thus overcomes the platform sensitivity
of the original package, and thus realises our goal
of "make Scilab accessible anywhere".
4. Multi-user access - simultaneous calculations
by a number of users
In designing Scilab Anywhere, great emphasis on the
practicality of the application. Scilab Anywhere is
truly multi-user, allowing several users to connect
to the server at the same time, and execute parallel
calculations. Each user is given a protected Scilab
environment to prevent cross-corruption, and ensure
that the results of the calculations will always be
5. "Image-returned" command solutions
- rich Scilab images available at client end
The client software can send image-returned commands.
With the C/S pattern, the user can access the image
file, in GIF format, from the local directory; with
the B/S pattern, the image is displayed directly in
the browser. Three-dimensional image transmission
is not directly available in the Version 1 of Scilab
Anywhere, with 3D graphs only observable from a given
angle. However, the other toolbox developed by the
Xiamen University Scilab Group, VRScilab, overcomes
this problem. The C/S pattern user can access the
3D VRML image file; the B/S pattern user will see
the image produced by the 3D commands directly in
the browser following the installation of the VRML
plug-in. VRScilab gives the Scilab Anywhere user access
to the powerful imaging commands in Scilab, and the
resulting high-quality images.