Ozone/Synapse Download Portal

Here you will find up-to-date information on the latest Ozone and Synapse releases, as well as the ability to download the Synapse Application Framework. Please use the Register link above to register for access to these resources. If you already have an account, use the Login link to access the download area.

What are widgets?

In the context of the World Wide Web, the term widget usually refers to a portable, lightweight, single-purpose application that can be installed and executed within an HTML-based Web page. Technically, a widget is any Web page or application that can be contained in an iframe. Widgets are often used to provide summary views of dynamic information content as components of information dashboards.

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a combination layout manager and messaging mechanism for hosting widgets within a Web browser. It resembles iGoogle, and uses Shindig, an open source Google gadget (widget) container.

Ozone supports a number of different widget layouts, including desktop, tabbed, portal, and accordion layouts. The desktop layout pattern enables users to load and arrange widgets at any position within the browser window, similar to a standard operating system desktop. The tabbed, portal, and accordion layouts host widgets at fixed positions within the browser window. Widgets can be flexibly assigned to the various locations by the user to create custom dashboard-like displays.

Because widgets are contained in iframes, and JavaScript doesn't permit communication between iframes loaded from different domains, Ozone also provides a cross-domain-compatible publish-subscribe mechanism. The Ozone pub/sub mechanism enables the development of Web applications composed of multiple intercommunicating widgets.

The Ozone Widget Framework (OWF) is normally distributed as a bundle containing everything needed to run the framework and develop widgets. This bundle includes four main components:

  • A Jetty web server to run the supplied war files
  • A war file containing both HTML and JavaScript files which constitute the OWF user interface
  • A war file that provides a Preference Server backend, which handles persistence of user preferences, widgets and dashboards
  • A Security implementation, which can use X.509 certificates or Central AuthenticationService (CAS)

What is Ozone/Synapse?

Synapse is a JavaScript-based SDK that extends Ozone in several useful ways. Synapse improves widget interoperability by implementing four key features:

  • a standardized widget event model;
  • a standardized Common Data Model(CDM);
  • Ozone framework extensions; and
  • a data sharing mechanism

Together, these capabilities enable the rapid assembly and configuration of rich Web applications composed of multiple, special-purpose widgets. While the Synapse architecture provides a generically useful software framework, the specific widget suite we have implemented is geared towards visual analytics applications. Consequently, PFI's Synapse widgets are organized into several functionally distinct classes, as follows.

  • Data Retrieval - Data Retrieval widgets implement custom interfaces to external data resources, typically a relational database of some type. These widgets present resource-specific query interfaces to the user, submit query specifications to the server, map the search results to the Synapse CDM, and generate a Working Set containing records returned by the query.
  • Data Management - This class of widgets provides functionality for organizing and managing the results of data retrieval operations. The most important of these is the Working Set Browser, a widget for browsing and manipulating the contents of Synapse Working Sets.
  • Data Visualization - Visualization widgets present the contents of Synapse Working Sets (i.e. the results of external data retrieval operations) in graphical form. Synapse visualization widgets depict relationships of various types present in the data, and are designed to be used together to enable understanding of highly complex patterns.
  • Data Filtering - Filtering widgets provide faceted filtering controls for rapidly winnowing query results sets based on arbitrary combinations of filtering criteria. This enables analyst users to quickly and easily remove data from consideration in order to more easily identify patterns of significance.
  • Data Encoding - Data Encoding widgets enable users to manually or automatically assign colors and/or symbols to graphical data features in order to extend the amount of information conveyed to users of Synapse Visualization widgets.
  • Workspace Search - Synapse provides ad hoc "search within search" functionality that enables the contents of local workspaces to be further sifted using more specific search criteria. When combined with Synapse filtering functionality, this enables efficient and powerful workflows that improve analyst effectiveness and productivity.

PFI's Ozone Synapse Core distribution includes a rich palette of widgets that can be easily reconfigured to provide a variety of visual analytics solutions out-of-the-box. More importantly, however, Synapse's basic capabilities can be easily extended through the modification of existing widgets, or the development of entirely new ones. Any widget developed with the Synapse SDK will work with any other Synapse widget, enabling end users to rapidly assemble custom software solutions on-the-fly.

What web browsers does Synapse support?

Synapse currently supports Mozilla Firefox 3.6+ and Internet Explorer 7, 8, & 9.

Ozone/Synapse Key Features

  • API for integrated and efficient widget interaction
  • Extends the Ozone Widget Framework with a standardized data and eventing model
  • Ozone and Synapse widgets can be employed seamlessly within the same Ozone dashboard or desktop
  • Visual Analytics-oriented example widgets can be used out-of-the box to assemble custom analysis solutions
  • Synapse eventing model enables interactions in one widget to be quickly reflected in other widgets
  • Generic channel naming convention simplifies widget developer tasks by eliminating the need to know channel names in advance
  • Synapse Common Data Model (CDM) allows data sharing between widgets
  • Data is shared using a common shared memory data space partitioned into independent record sets
  • Newly launched (initialized) widgets automatically synchronize with existing data; no need for additional server interactions (vis-à-vis Ozone)
  • Supports both JavaScript and Silverlight-based widgets
  • Synapse data structures and messaging system highly scalable and optimized for performance
  • Common data display states enable multiple simultaneous views of different characteristics of a given data set
  • Local search function enables rapid searching of previously retrieved search results ("search within search")
  • Workflow features include external resource query, record set and value list management capabilities, workspace save/restore, export data to local disk

Synapse Availability

Synapse is available for official U.S. Government use under the terms of the DoD Community Source Usage Agreement Version 1.1, available at http://www.forge.mil/Community.html. To obtain a copy of Synapse, please request a download portal account from us. To register you must provide a valid U.S. Government or business email address.

Custom Software Engineering Services

PFI provides a range of consulting and software engineering services, including Synapse/Ozone widget development and customization services. If you have specific data analysis or situation awareness requirements that may be a good fit for the Synapse Framework, please contact us at download@potomacfusion.com for more information or to request a quote.

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