The philosophy of user interfaces in HELIO and the importance of CASSIS

Xavier Bonnin (LESIA/OBSPM), J. Aboudarham (LESIA/OBSPM, France), C. Reniť (LESIA/OBSPM, France), A. Csillaghy (FHNW, Switzerland), R.D. Bentley (MSSL/UCL, UK), M. Messerotti (INAF, Italy)


HELIO is a European project funded under FP7 (Project No. 238969). One of its goals as a Heliospheric Virtual Observatory is to provide an easy access to many datasets scattered all over the world, in the fields of Solar physics, Heliophysics, and Planetary magnetospheres. The efficiency of such a tool is very much related to the quality of the user interface. HELIO infrastructure is based on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), regrouping a network of standalone components, which allows four main types of interfaces:
- HELIO Front End (HFE) is a browser-based user interface, which offers a centralized access to the HELIO main functionalities. Especially, it provides the possibility to reach data directly, or to refine selection by determination of observing characteristics, such as which instrument was observing at that time, which instrument was at this location, etc.
- Many services/components provide their own standalone graphical user interface. While one can directly access individually each of these interfaces, they can also be connected together.
- Most services also provide direct access for any tools through a public interface. A small java library, called Java API, simplifies this access by providing client stubs for services and shields the user from security, discovery and failover issues.
- Workflows capabilities are available in HELIO, allowing complex combination of queries over several services.
We want the user to be able to navigate easily, at his needs, through the various interfaces, and possibly use a specific one in order to make much-dedicated queries.
We will also emphasize the importance of the CASSIS project (Coordination Action for the integration of Solar System Infrastructure and Science) in encouraging the interoperability necessary to undertake scientific studies that span disciplinary boundaries. If related projects follow the guidelines being developed by CASSIS then using external resources with HELIO will be greatly simplified.

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