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A Web intermediary is an application that sits between a client and server and facilitates processing. The term Web Intermediaries (WBI) refers to an IBM framework used to develop Web intermediary applications.
A server is involved in most processing tasks - from request extraction to data retrieval/transmission. Web intermediaries reduce redundant server processing, like encryption and request conversions, and delegate processing power for enhanced server performance. A client uses a Web intermediary to customize content based on requirements and control rendering.
The purpose of a Web intermediary is to change the behavior of a Web-based interface based on a user's browser history and preferences. For example, if a user prefers red hyperlinks, client-side Web intermediaries are configured to change the hyperlink color of all incoming HTML documents.
A cache-equipped Web intermediary is separate from a browser, which forwards a URL to the cache when accessing a Web page. The Web intermediary performs a local search and neighborhood query based on this request to determine if the Web page is present in other intermediaries.
The same content is stored in different formats for optimization. For example, an image may be stored with different compression ratios. Upon receiving a request, a Web intermediary determines image delivery, which is based on browser/network speed and rendering capabilities. Web intermediaries are also used modify and enhance existing protocols without impacting client-server configuration.
Web intermediaries construct a data path for all monitor/editor/generator requests, which is assigned a priority and rule for selection based on the condition required to execute that particular path. A condition may be applied to any HTTP header field.
Below is a general description of the Web intermediary process: