Key Goals

The consortium proposal to face the challenge of lowering “total application costs and development time” is to enhance the interface modelling language called UsiXML (USer Interface eXtensible Mark-up Language) by adding versatile context driven capabilities that will bring it far beyond the state of the art, up to the achievement of its standardisation. The innovation relies on the µ7 concept defined as multi-device, multi-platform, multi-user, multi-linguality / culturality, multi-organisation, multi-context, multi-modality. The operational effectiveness of this approach will be demonstrated and validated on real industrial applications.

UsiXML is an existing XML-compliant mark-up language that describes an UI for multiple contexts of use such as character, graphical, auditory or multimodal interfaces. UsiXML is intended for developers, as well as analysts, designers, human factors experts, etc. Thanks to UsiXML, non-developers can shape the UI of any new interactive application by specifying it in UsiXML, without requiring the programming skills usually found in mark-up and programming languages. UsiXML is a declarative language capturing the essence of what an UI is, or should be, independently of physical characteristics. Currently UsiXML (only) supports interaction device independence, computing platform independence and interaction modality independence. On the other hand, IDEAL 2.0 is a language that has been developed under the Eureka-CELTIC MyMobileWeb project to simplify the creation of applications and contents that adapt to their delivery context. In contraposition with UsiXML, IDEAL is easy to be learned by web developers, modular and it is aligned with existing standards. IDEAL can be used to describe device independent applications or contents that adapt to the delivery context at runtime. However, for instance IDEAL does not solve the problem of multimodality as UsiXML does. After a first analysis it has been concluded that both languages should first converge and then be extended to support more complex and compelling scenarios in a µ7 environment.

Goal 1: The UsiXML “µ7” concept elicitation and promotion

µ7 elicitation: These µ7 seven dimensions is a new and powerful approach to cope with technological advances and environmental variations: new input/output devices, users evolve over time and new user profiles appear constantly, applications are submitted to internationalisation: new languages, markets, and cultures, applications need to be extended to multiple organisations, new contexts, constraints impose to use various modalities depending on the context and depending on the platforms. It carries out a main breakthrough compared to traditional approaches consisting in developing a unique UI

µ7 promotion by the creation of a Network of Excellence like the SIMILAR one and help each partner to leverage the global European market segment using standerdization issue.

Goal 2: Development of the UsiXML language and the model-driven method

Standard User Interface Description Language: In order to guarantee interoperability, reusability, and maintainability of interactive applications developed, we will define an open XML-compliant standard User Interface Description Language (UIDL), on the top of existing languages, that will serve as the interoperability mean between the facets of a development methodology. 

New models to capture µ7 aspects explicitly when there are some needs to support various configurations and only those models required. Models that impact the UI development life cycle include: business process, organisation, workflow, device, interactor, program, service, and component.

Ui development methology : UsiXML will define a flexible methological framework that accomodates various development paths as found in organisations and that can be tailored to their specific needs. This frame work wiil be expressed according to world-class standards. 

Goal 3: Set up development tools and demonstration of the validity on applications

Tools development: we will develop a suite of software tools that support the methodological framework defined in goal 2 that can be later integrated or connected to available software environments. A UsiXML service will be defined and developed once so that this service can be deployed many times, especially for all environments requiring them to reduce the total cost of development.

Usability support: UsiXML will provide developers with various knowledge bases containing usability and accessibility guidelines that can be semi-automatically verified on any UsiXML-produced UI so as to guarantee a certain level of quality. A particular attention will be paid to those guidelines required for standard certification and quality insurance and will be expressed in Guideline Definition Language (GDL), a XML-compliant language that is directly linked to UsiXML.

Validation through demonstrators: The project consortium will demonstrate the applicability and the feasibility of the whole methodology and language using three application’ classes: classical validators, advanced validators and blue-sky validators. Both the process and the results of method enactment on the target applications will be evaluated.


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