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Paper: Next Generation Firefly for Web Application
Volume: 521, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXVI
Page: 32
Authors: Wu, X.; Roby, W.; Goldina, T.; Joliet, E.; Ly, L.; Mi, W.; Wang, C.; Zhang, L.; Ciardi, D.; Dubois-Felsmann, G.
Abstract: Firefly is a web framework for astronomical data archive access and visualization developed in the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC). The development started with the Spitzer Heritage Archive (SHA), and continued in the WISE Image Archive, Planck Image Archive, and other web applications in the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA) applications. Back in 2008, we made the decision to use the Java/GWT framework for web client side code. The decision has served us well in the last eight years, enabling us to develop and deploy several data access applications in a short time frame. Two years ago, IPAC started to develop the Science User Interface and Tools for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). Firefly must meet the needs of archive access and visualization for the 2022 LSST telescope and must serve astronomers beyond the year 2032. We need to take Firefly into the next generation, making it more flexible, stable, maintainable, and reliable. With the evolution of the web, advances in JavaScript programming, all the web development frameworks based on JavaScript, we have a lot more choices for web application development technology.
After much research and experiment, we decided to rewrite the client side code in JavaScript, adopting the React/Redux framework. The work started in late 2015, and by end of September 2016 we could declare that we successfully ported the 150,000 lines of Java code into JavaScript.
This talk will give a report on the decision making process, the challenges we faced, the new development process we adopted along the way, and the Firefly improvements we achieved by going to JavaScript.
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