BROWeb: An interactive collaborative auditory environment on the world wide web
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We describe an infrastructure for a real-time shared auditory environment on the World Wide Web (WWW). The system consists of the BROWeb "star-shaped" Web server and the StarClient Java class and interface. The BROWeb server is designed to facilitate implementation of Java applets wherein users see and hear each other's activity. Developed as an interactive music system for public performance, BROWeb is robust enough to support hundreds of users in a demanding application. We also discuss design issues regarding the actual experiences that a Java applet overlying this infrastructure can deliver. We created, for instance, a privileged user–a "director"–who can make decisions affecting the overall system's performance and also the data streams from other users. As for the sound source of the actual experience, we present two alternatives that we have tested: local sounds that download when the experience begins and streamed audio (RealAudio, Xing, or other network broadcasting tool).