A survey on web modeling approaches for ubiquitous web applications


Ubiquitous web applications (UWA) are a new type of web applications which are accessed in various contexts, i.e. through different devices, by users with various interests, at anytime from anyplace around the globe. For such full-fledged, complex software systems, a methodologically sound engineering approach in terms of model-driven engineering (MDE) is crucial. Several modeling approaches have already been proposed that capture the ubiquitous nature of web applications, each of them having different origins, pursuing different goals and providing a pantheon of concepts. This paper aims to give an in-depth comparison of seven modeling approaches supporting the development of UWAs. This methodology is conducted by applying a detailed set of evaluation criteria and by demonstrating its applicability on basis of an exemplary tourism web application. In particular, five commonly found ubiquitous scenarios are investigated, thus providing initial insight into the modeling concepts of each approach as well as to facilitate their comparability. The results gained indicate that many modeling approaches lack a proper MDE foundation in terms of meta-models and tool support. The proposed modeling mechanisms for ubiquity are often limited, since they neither cover all relevant context factors in an explicit, self-contained, and extensible way, nor allow for a wide spectrum of extensible adaptation operations. The provided modeling concepts frequently do not allow dealing with all different parts of a web application in terms of its content, hypertext, and presentation levels as well as their structural and behavioral features. Finally, current modeling approaches do not reflect the crosscutting nature of ubiquity but rather intermingle context and adaptation issues with the core parts of a web application, thus hampering maintainability and extensibility. Different from other surveys in the area of modeling web applications, this paper specifically considers modeling concepts for their ubiquitous nature, together with an investigation of available support for MDD in a comprehensive way, using a well-defined as well as fine-grained catalogue of more than 30 evaluation criteria.

International Journal of Web Information Systems (IJWIS), 4 (2008), 3; 234 - 305
Gerti Kappel
Gerti Kappel
O.Univ.Prof.in Dipl.-Ing.in Mag.a Dr.in techn.
Manuel Wimmer
Privatdoz. Mag.rer.soc.oec. Dr.rer.soc.oec.