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Web-O-Matic/Rexx: A tool for writing interactive Web pages that works by compiling HTML into Object Rexx

Jocelyn Ireson-Paine
Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University,
Institute for Fiscal Studies, London,

April 1997, revised May 1997


In this paper, I describe Web-O-Matic/Rexx (WOM): a language, compiler, and run-time system for building interactive Web applications without CGI programming. The idea behind WOM is that the Web-page author writes interactive pages in HTML extended with special tags such as TextField and OnSubmit. The WOM compiler translates these into Object Rexx class definitions which can be instantiated and run by a server. Each class has a special method which knows how to send back its HTML representation to the server. The way pages interact with each other and update themselves is controlled by Object Rexx code inserts.

WOM has been used by the Institute for Fiscal Studies to connect interactive economic models to the Web. It is based on the new programming paradigm of System Limit Programming (SLP). WOM takes care of common Web programming problems such as maintaining multiple sessions and saving state on the server. It proved extremely useful for prototyping an economics teaching application named Tow, probably making prototyping about ten times faster than with normal CGI programming.

Jocelyn Ireson-Paine
Fri May 30 14:03:06 BST 1997