About eXtended Active Pages (XAP)

XAP is an advanced server-side technology in which you can combine HTML pages, compiled scripts, and high-speed access to live data to create powerful web-based applications. This patent-pending technology was invented by Signature Systems, Inc.

For the developer of web-based interactive applications, XAP technology solves three of the most common programming challenges:

  • First, XAP simplifies the task of moving data from the browser to the server-side application. It accomplishes this through a system-level routine that parses incoming data (i.e., form data, cookies, and environment variables). All of these fields are written to an indexed data base on the XAP server, where they become immediately available -- as individual data fields -- to the XAP script. This saves a tremendous amount of code in the server-side application. That means the programmer saves time when writing server-side programs, and also means that those programs are much more efficient.

  • Second, XAP breathes life into your static web pages by greatly improving the notion of "server side include." XAP's unique "merge and send" feature merges live data into a stored HTML document, and even allows for sections of the HTML document to be merged into more than one time during a single processing session. The XAP scripting language contains instructions that can read live data from a data base on the server side, merge that data into a section of an HTML document, then send that section to the browser. It can repeat this process for any number of data base records. For example, if an application needed to display a web page containing a list of a customer's open orders, the XAP script would include a loop that would read a single order from the live data file, merge it into a section of an HTML document, send that section to the web browser, and then repeat the process until the list of orders was exhausted. This advanced feature results in an ideal environment for a server-side application: the compiled script has full control of the data stream, while the HTML document remains in command of the user interface.

  • Third, XAP provides automatic context preservation for each browser user who executes an XAP server-side application. The technology is simple, really, and the results are profound. When a browser user runs an XAP process, the data generated by their session is automatically saved on the XAP server and an identifying cookie is sent to the browser. If and when that same user runs another XAP script on the same server, XAP technology reads their cookie and automatically restores their previously-stored data into memory, where it instantly becomes available to the XAP new script. For programmers who have struggled with hidden fields and cookies in order to maintain session-to-session continuity, this feature is a dream come true.

XAP and Comet

The first commercial implementation of XAP technology is the eComet Internet Application Server from Signature Systems, Inc. This product combines the power and reliability of a proven application server with the patent-pending Internet-based features mentioned above.

For many years, Comet has been recognized as a top-performing system for business and commercial applications. The words are repeated again and again. Solid. Reliable. Fast. Flexible. Efficient. Dependable. All you have to do is look at the list of application packages that have been developed for Comet, and you'll see why some of the top software developers continue to choose Comet.

In the early days, Comet was the system of choice for minicomputer users who wanted to "downsize" to a more affordable (and faster) system. Comet evolved into a true client-server system with the development of the Comet File Systems for Novell and Windows NT Networks. Remote access over the Internet was first accomplished with CometAnywhere, Signature's first Internet product.

Now, Signature Systems adds a new dimension with eComet Internet Application Server, featuring XAP technology. Comet is now a host system for Internet applications. The users are running web browsers like Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. The web pages send data to a Comet system, and the Comet system sends web pages back to the browser. The result is a remarkable platform for business-to-business e-commerce.

It's an even more remarkable platform when an eComet system is integrated into a Comet network. In this case, the data files are stored on a fast file server using Comet File Server software for Novell or Windows NT, and the eComet applications run on a node within that network. This node is the Internet Application Server.

For more information, including links to demo programs, live eComet sites, eComet developers, and a complete eComet programming tutorial, visit the eComet site.

Information for XAP Developers

Signature Systems requests that all XAP developers include the XAP logo and "powered by" phrase at the bottom of their XAP-generated web pages. The logo and text are shown below. Also, Signature Systems would appreciate it if all XAP developers include a link to the XAP web page as part of the logo.

Here is the exact HTML code and text to include:

<a href="http://www.signature.net/xap/">
<img src="http://www.signature.net/xap/xaplogo.jpg"
Powered by eXtended Active Pages (XAP) technology 
from Signature Systems, Inc. Patent Pending. 

Here are the results:

Powered by eXtended Active Pages (XAP) technology
from Signature Systems, Inc. Patent Pending.

The XAP logo and "eXtended Active Pages" name are trademarks of Signature Systems, Inc. A patent application for XAP technology has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.