Model-based development of ubiquitous synchronous collaborative UIS.
Μοντέλο-κεντρική ανάπτυξη πανταχού παρόντων σύγχρονων συνεργατικών κατανεμημένων διεπαφών.
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Η παρούσα πτυχιακή εργασία καταπιάστηκε με το θέμα της υποστήριξης σύγχρονης συνεργατικής κατανεμημένης εργασίας σε πανταχού περιβάλλοντα. Σε αυτά τα πλαίσια ανέδειξε το μεθοδολογικό αλλά και γενικότερο υπολογιστικό κενό όσον αφορά την υποστήριξη ανάπτυξης συστημάτων που να ικανοποιούν τις προδιαγραφές και απαιτήσεις των αναδυόμενων διάχυτων περιβαλλόντων χρήσης (pervasive contexts of use ), όπου η ριζική ετερογένεια μεταξύ τους δεσπόζει ως κύριο χαρακτηριστικό τους γνώρισμα. Η εκκωφαντική αυτή ανεπάρκεια στη διαχείριση ριζικά ετερογενών περιβαλλόντων χρήσης, αποδίδεται στο γεγονός πως η τρέχουσα τεχνολογική στάθμιση (state-of-the-art) και οι διαθέσιμες προσεγγίσεις λόγω συγκεκριμένων υποθέσεων αδυνατούν να υποστηρίξουν τον απαραίτητο βαθμό αφαίρεσης.A primary goal of CSCW systems is to allow people to work together productively and naturally, like they do while acting within a single-user context. These systems need to provide user interfaces that support group work appropriately. Traditionally, user interfaces to groupware applications are hard-coded using either low-level constructs or toolkit-based approaches (i.e.: DiscoTech, GT/SD, Tele-board, PowerMeeting, MAUI, etc.). The results today offer a rich insight to the desired groupware functionality and the features devised to facilitate such functionality (i.e., replication models, object sharing, floor control, etc.). Nevertheless, the advent of model-based user interface development  signifies a move towards transformation-based approaches to generating the user interface. Although, these have been proven to work for single-user applications, very little is known about their capability to facilitate generation of multi-user interfaces to groupware applications,,. Indeed, model-based development as currently applied to user interfaces exploits device-independent markup languages – dialects of XML – and some sort of abstraction-based mechanisms to facilitate transformation of abstract interaction components to concrete widgets as implemented by a target platform. Typically, the user interfaces built are single-user and non-collaborative. Thus far, the efforts devoted to using model-based engineering to build collaborative interfaces are very few and limited in the scope of collaborative behavior supported. Indicative examples include CIAF, Workspaces, AMENITIES, CIAM, TOUCHE1, and FlowiXML. These efforts concentrate primarily on devising notations and tools to model cooperative behavior and workflows. In effect, their primary contribution is that they make explicit different elements of collaboration (i.e., roles, responsibilities and tasks) using dedicated notations such CTT, CIAN, GTA or the Co-interaction Diagram in . Only some of the existing efforts make steps towards generating the user interface of collaborative applications. An example of this work is FlowiXML. However, this later line of research seems to be at odds with multi-user toolkits such as MAUI or other frameworks for rendering applications collaborative (i.e., CORK). It follows, therefore that at present generating collaborative user interfaces remains ad hoc and highly programming-intensive task. Moreover, existing efforts do not constitute a complete and coherent collaborative UI development lifecycle, thus leaving space for significant improvements towards this direction. Scope of proposed research and expected solutions The above motivate the current research, which aims to extend the capabilities of the established model-based user interface development methods so as to support generation of collaborative user interfaces. Our intention is to investigate this issue from two key perspectives. The first is to identify the type of models needed to capture collaborative aspects in synchronous settings, while the second relates to generating the collaborative user interface by making use of suitable platform-oriented architectural components. In particular, the specific goals of this work are summarized as follows: - Consolidate shortcomings and impediments to generating user interfaces for ubiquitous, synchronous and collaborative applications. - Devise a new technique for integrating concepts relevant to collaborative UIs by introducing suitable extensions to model-based UI engineering methods. - Elaborate the proposed technique in terms of appropriate instruments / means that allow concurrently active views (of the same model), interaction objects’ replication across distributed clients, abstract interaction object synchronization schemes (beyond state sharing), which are necessary for the development of collaborative user interfaces. -Establish the tools needed and the architectural model for implementing the above by extending an existing model-based development framework, such as UsiXML.