GROUPWARE TOOLKITS FOR SYNCHRONOUS WORK
Groupware toolkits let developers build applications for synchronous and distributed computer-based conferencing. This chapter describes four components that we believe toolkits must provide. A run-time architecture automatically manages the creation, interconnection, and communications of both centralized and distributed processes that comprise conference sessions. A set of groupware programming abstractions allows developers to control the behaviour of distributed processes, to take action on state changes, and to share relevant data. Groupware widgets let interface features of value to conference participants be added easily to groupware applications. Session managers let people create and manage their meetings and are built by developers to accommodate the group's working style. We illustrate the many ways these components can be designed by drawing on our own experiences with GroupKit, and by reviewing approaches taken by other toolkit developers.