ERCIM News No.30 - July 1997

GMD Spin-off Globit develops Informix DataBlade Modules

by Marlies Ockenfeld

Globit, a spin-off company of GMD developed three new Informix Universal Server based DataBlades. Using these tools, users will be able to explore large amounts of possibly complex structured multi-media data objects in an intuitive and cognitively efficient way by using a web browser.

The new DataBlade modules generate an hypertext markup language-based information catalog environment, are able to store and access digital video streams in motion picture expert group-1 (MPEG-1) format and generate virtual reality scenes in virtual reality modelling language (VRML) format for the Web-based visualization of searches in large databases. The modules are the Information Catalog Environment (ICE), the MPEG-1 and the VMRL DataBlade modules for the Informix Universal Server. By combining this user interface technology with the Informix Universal Server, system administrators are enabled to easily adapt cognitive efficient information system user-interfaces to their database systems and application areas. Their respective end-users will be able to use the information system in a plug and play fashion and the consistency of the displayed information with the database content will be automatically ensured at all times.

The ICE DataBlade module provides automatic support for multidimensional and hierarchical navigation within Web-based user-interfaces. It enables administrators to easily create HTML-based user-interfaces for end-users. These incorporate an automatic generated multi-dimensional navigation system for providing a variety of different views into operational database contents. ICE manages all available documents on a Web-server and provides them to the user via a multidimensional and hierarchical menu system with an active context management. End-users constantly receive visual feedback about the current state of their personal search context. In this way, they can easily keep their orientation within the overall content space of the database and the navigational space of the Web user-interface.

MPEG (ISO/IEC 11172) is the international standard for the coding and compression of video and associated audio signals. It provides compression ratios up to 100:1 without noticeable artifacts. Globit's MPEG DataBlade parses an MPEG stream and its internal structure into an Universal Server driven database. The MPEG-DataBlade module will provide methods for fast structure-oriented random access to all information streams in the MPEG source. Therefore, the MPEG DataBlade is the ideal basis for digital video archiving, retrieval,and processing applications. Future extensions of the DataBlade will also include the generation and manipulation of MPEG files as well as support for MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.

The VMRL DataBlade module is a virtual reality scene generator for the hierarchical and multidimensional exploration of large structured data sets. Visual query systems enable even unexperienced users to formulate complex queries against highly stuctured data collections. The solution choosen by Globit with the VMRL DataBlade modul is the adoption of 3D display methods for perspective visualization. Thus end-users are provided with an overview visualization and are, at the same time, enabled to focus on a smaller part of the data set in more detail. The 3D virtual scenario is composed of atomar virtual world objects, which are stored in a VRML repository. This repository contains the models of these objects, eg rooms, chairs, tables, portrait cases, as well as descriptions of their visual properties and their expressiveness with respect to visualizing different data types and structures.

"For the first time simple data access, acquisition of new data as well as maintenance of complex multimedia databases can be realized in a user-oriented way." stated Matthias Hemmje, CEO of Globit. "By taking advantage of the unique solution of user-interface integration into the Informix DataBlades, we are giving our customers and partners complete quality control over the presentation of their data within end-user oriented applications."

More information about Globit is available via the World Wide Web at and

Please contact:
Matthias Hemmje - Globit
Tel: +49 6151 869 844

return to the contents page