The GLobal Integrated Design Environment (GLIDE) is a collaborative engineering application built to resolve the design session issues of realtime passing of data between multiple discipline experts in a collaborative environment. Utilizing Web protocols and multiple programming languages, GLIDE allows engineers to use the applications to which they are accustomed — in this case, Excel — to send and receive datasets via the Internet to a database-driven Web server.

Traditionally, a collaborative design session consists of one or more engineers representing each discipline meeting together in a single location. The discipline leads exchange parameters and iterate through their respective processes to converge on an acceptable dataset. In cases in which the engineers are unable to meet, their parameters are passed via e-mail, telephone, facsimile, or even postal mail. The result of this slow process of data exchange would elongate a design session to weeks or even months. While the iterative process remains in place, software can now exchange parameters securely and efficiently, while at the same time allowing for much more information about a design session to be made available.

GLIDE is written in a compilation of several programming languages, including REALbasic, PHP, and Microsoft Visual Basic. GLIDE client installers are available to download for both Microsoft Windows and Macintosh systems. The GLIDE client software is compatible with Microsoft Excel 2000 or later on Windows systems, and with Microsoft Excel X or later on Macintosh systems.

GLIDE follows the Client-Server paradigm, transferring encrypted and compressed data via standard Web protocols. Currently, the engineers use Excel as a front end to the GLIDE Client, as many of their custom tools run in Excel.

This work was done by Matthew Kunkel, Melissa McGuire, David A. Smith, and Leon P. Gefert of Glenn Research Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-18591-1.

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