Property models: from incidental algorithms to reusable components.
ABSTRACT A user interface, such as a dialog, assists a user in synthesising a set of values, typically parameters for a command object. Code for "command parameter synthesis" is usually application-specific and non-reusable, consisting of validation logic in event handlers and code that controls how values of user interface elements change in response to a user's actions, etc. These software artifacts are incidental - they are not explicitly designed and their implementation emerges from a composition of locally defined behaviors. This article presents property models to capture explicitly the algorithms, validation, and interaction rules, arising from command parameter synthesis. A user interface's behavior can be derived from a declarative property model specification, with the assistance of a component akin to a constraint solver. This allows multiple interfaces, both human and programmatic, to reuse a single model along with associated validation logic and widget activation logic. The proposed technology is deployed in large commercial software application suites. Where we have applied property models, we have measured significant reductions in source-code size with equivalent or increased functionality; additional levels of reuse are apparent, both within single applications, and across product lines; and applications are able to provide more uniform access to functionality. There is potential for wide adoption: by our measurements command parameter synthesis comprises roughly one third of the code and notably more of the defects in desktop applications.
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Conference Paper: Helping programmers help users.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: User interfaces exhibit a wide range of features that are designed to assist users. Interaction with one widget may trigger value changes, disabling, or other behaviors in other widgets. Such automatic behavior may be confusing or disruptive to users. Research literature on user interfaces offers a number of solutions, including interface features for explaining or controlling these behaviors. To help programmers help users, the implementation costs of these features need to be much lower. Ideally, they could be generated for free. This paper shows how several help and control mechanisms can be implemented as algorithms and reused across interfaces, making the cost of their adoption negligible. Specifically, we describe generic help mechanisms for visualizing data flow and explaining command deactivation, and a mechanism for controlling the flow of data. A reusable implementation of these features is enabled by our property model framework, where the data manipulated through a user interface is modeled as a constraint system.Generative Programming And Component Engineering, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Generative Programming and Component Engineering, GPCE 2011, Portland, Oregon, USA, October 22-24, 2011; 01/2011
Article: A Survey on Reactive Programming[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
Conference Paper: HotDrink: a library for web user interfaces[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]