A MDA-Compliant Environment for Developing User Interfaces of Information Systems

Jean Vanderdonckt


To cope with the ever increasing diversity of markup languages, programming languages, tool kits and interface development environments, conceptual modeling of user interfaces could bring a framework for specifying, designing, and developing user interfaces at a level of abstraction that is higher than the level where code is merely manipulated. For this purpose, a complete environment is presented based on conceptual modeling of user interfaces of information systems structured around three axes: the models that characterize a user interface from the end user's viewpoint and the specification language that allows designers to specify such interfaces, the method for developing interfaces in forward, reverse, and lateral engineering based on these models, and a suite of tools that support designers in applying the method based on the models. This environment is compatible with the Model-Driven Architecture recommendations in the sense that all models adhere to the principle of separation of concerns and are based on model transformation between the MDA levels. The models and the transformations of these models are all expressed in UsiXML (User Interface Extensible Markup Language) and maintained in a model repository that can be accessed by the suite of tools. Thanks to this environment, it is possible to quickly develop and deploy a wide array of user interfaces for different computing platforms, for different interaction modalities, for different markup and programming languages, and for various contexts of use.


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