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About research

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

Albert Einstein

2017

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J17

Riviero, J.M., Grigera, J., Distante, D., Rossi, G., Montero, F.; "DataMock: An Agile Approach for Building Data Models from User Interface Mockups". Software and Systems Modeling (SoSyM). ISSN: 1619-1366 (Print) 1619-1374 (Online). DOI 10.1007/s10270-017-0586-9. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. (To Appear)

DOI

2016

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J16

Grigera, J., Garrido, A., Panach, J.P., Distante, D., Rossi, G.; "Assessing refactorings for usability in e-commerce applications". Empirical Software Engineering, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 1224–1271. Springer US, New York (2016). DOI 10.1007/s10664-015-9384-6; Print ISSN 1382-3256.

Refactoring has been reported as a helpful technique to systematically improve non-functional attributes of software. This paper evaluates the relevance of refactoring for improving usability on web applications. We conducted an experiment with two replications at different locations, with subjects of different profiles. Objects chosen for the experiment were two e-commerce applications that exhibit common business processes in today’s web usage. Through the experiment we found that half of the studied refactorings cause a significant improvement in usability. The rest of the refactorings required a post-hoc analysis in which we considered aspects like user expertise in the interaction with web applications or type of application. We conclude that, when improving quality in use, the success of the refactoring process depends on several factors, including the type of software system, context and users. We have analyzed all these aspects, which developers must consider for a better decision support at the time of prioritizing improvements and outweighing effort.

Draft - DOI

J15

Kuosa, K., Distante, D., Tervakari, A., Cerulo, L., Fernandez, A., Koro, J., Kailanto, M.; "Interactive Visualization Tools to Improve Learning and Teaching in Online Learning Environments". International Journal of Distance Education Technologies (IJDET), IGI Global (2016). Volume 14, Issue 1. DOI: 10.4018/IJDET.2016010101. ISSN 1539-3100.

This paper presents two interactive visualization tools for learning management systems (LMS) in order to improve learning and teaching in online courses. The first tool was developed at the Intelligent Information Systems Laboratory (IISLab) at the Tampere University of Technology (TUT). The tool is used to analyse students' activity from automatically recorded user log data and to build interactive visualizations. They provide valuable insights into the learning process and participation of students in a course offered to teachers and students. The second tool was developed at the Unitelma Sapienza University. It extends navigation and search functionalities in the discussion forum of an LMS with a topic-driven paradigm. The tool analyses forum content and automatically identifies discussion topics. It then enhances the original forum with a topic-driven navigation structure and an interactive search graph. Both tools have been developed as plug-ins for the Moodle LMS, but their analysis processes and techniques can be adopted into any LMS.

Draft -DOI

J14

Rossi, G., Urbieta, M., Distante, D., Riviero, J.M., Firmenich, S.; "25 Years of Model-Driven Web Engineering. What we achieved, What is missing". CLEI Electronic Journal, Volume 19, Issue 3. CLEIj (2016). DOI 10.19153/cleiej.19.3.1; ISSN 0717- 5000.

Model-Driven Web Engineering (MDWE) approaches aim to improve the Web applications development process by focusing on modeling instead of coding, and deriving the running application by transformations from conceptual models to code. The emergence of the Interaction Flow Modeling Language (IFML) has been an important milestone in the evolution of Web modeling languages, indicating not only the maturity of the field but also a final convergence of languages. In this paper we explain the evolution of modeling and design approaches since the early years (in the 90’s) detailing the forces which drove that evolution and discussing the strengths and weaknesses of some of those approaches. A brief presentation of the IFML is accompanied with a thorough analysis of the most important achievements of the MDWE community as well as the problems and obstacles that hinder the dissemination of model-driven techniques in the Web engineering field.

Paper-DOI

C37

Bernardi, M.L., Cimitile, M., Distante, D., Mercaldo, F.; "A Constraint-Driven Approach for Dynamic Malware Detection". 14th International Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust (PST 2016, Auckland, New Zealand, December 12-14, 2016)

The growth in use of mobile phones to communicate and access sensitive resources drives the research of new approaches for pro- tecting smartphones from all the possible attacks deriving from malicious software. Moreover, the continuous emerging of new and sophisticated malware makes current solutions to protect mobile phones inadequate shortly after being implemented. In this paper a new approach for run-time malware detection is proposed. It con- sists in analyzing system call traces gathered from malware and trusted applications to identify a set of relationships and recurring execution patterns that characterize their respective behavior. The characterization of the malware behaviour is expressed in terms of declarative constraints between system calls and can be used to identify similarities across malware families, detect malware vari- ants within the same family, and to build trees of malware fam- ilies based on their similarities. The effectiveness and efficiency of the approach have been assessed using a dataset of more than 1500 between trusted and malicious applications across six malware families. The results show that the proposed approach exhib- its a very good discriminating ability exploitable for both malware detection and the study of malware evolution.

DOI

2015

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J13

Distante, D., Fernandez, A., Cerulo, L.,Visaggio, C.A.; "Enhancing Online Discussion Forums with Topic-Driven Content Search and Assisted Posting". Communications in Computer and Information Science, Volume 553, pp 161-180. Springer US, New York (2015). DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-25840-9_11. ISSN ISSN: 1865-0929.

Online forums represent nowadays one of the most popular and rich repository of user generated information over the Internet. Searching information of interest in an online forum may be substantially improved by a proper organization of the forum content. With this aim, in this paper we propose an approach that enhances an existing forum by introducing a navigation structure that enables searching and navigating the forum content by topics of discussion. Topics and hierarchical relations between them are semi-automatically extracted from the forum content by applying Information Retrieval techniques, specifically Topic Models and Formal Concept Analysis. Then, forum posts and discussion threads are associated to discussion topics on a similarity score basis. Moreover, to support automatic moderation in websites that host several forums, we propose a strategy to assist a user writing a new post in choosing the most appropriate forum into which it should be added. An implementation of the topic-driven content search and navigation and assisted posting forum enhancement approaches for the Moodle learning management system is also presented in the paper, opening to the application of these approaches to several real distance learning contexts. Finally, we also report on two case studies that we have conducted to validate the two approaches and evaluate their benefits.

Draft - DOI

C35

Firmenich, D., Firmenich, S., Rossi, G., Winckler, M., Distante, D.; "User Interface Adaptation Using Web Augmentation Techniques: Towards a Negotiated Approach". In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE 2015, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, June 23-26, 2015). Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 9114, 2015, pp. 147-164. Springer 2015, ISBN 978-3-319-19889-7.

The use of Web augmentation techniques has an impact on tasks of owners of Web sites, developers of scripts and end-users. Because the Web sites can be modified by external scripts, their owners might lose control about how Web site contents are delivered. To prevent this, they might be tempted to modify the structure of Web pages thus making harder to execute external scripts. However, communities of Web augmentation scripters are increasing since end-users still have needs not yet covered by Web sites. In this paper we analyze the trade-offs of the introduction of Web augmentation scripts. In order to mitigate some negative effects, such as the loss of control, we propose an approach based on negotiation and coordination between actors involved in the process. We present a set of tools to facilitate the integration of scripts and to foster their dissemination for the benefit of all actors involved.

Draft - DOI

2014

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J12

Distante, D., Garrido, A., Camelier-Carvajal, J., Giandini, R., Rossi, G.; "Business Processes Refactoring to Improve Usability in E-Commerce Applications". Electronic Commerce Research, Vol. 14(4). pp. 497–529. Springer US, New York (2014). Print ISSN 1389-5753.

Refactoring is a technique that applies step-by-step transformations intended to improve the quality of software while preserving its behavior. It represents an essential activity in today's software lifecycle and a powerful tool against software decay. Software decay, however, is not only about code becoming legacy, but it is also about systems becoming less usable compared to competitor solutions adopting new designs and new technologies. If we narrow the focus on e-commerce systems, the role of usability becomes essential: higher usability is in fact a requirement to win the market competition and to retain customers from turning to other choices. One reason why an e-commerce application can start suffering from poor usability is because of its business processes (BPs) becoming difficult to access, complicated to execute, and, overall, offering a poor user experience. In this paper we argue that refactoring can be a key solution for this kind of usability issues. In particular, we propose a catalog of refactorings as a means to systematically identify and address lack of usability in the BPs of an e-commerce application, and to seize opportunities for usability improve- ment. To make the presentation concrete and to provide evidence of the benefits that applying our refactorings can bring, we present a number of examples with reference to well-known e-commerce websites.

Draft - DOI

C34

Bernardi, M. L., Di Lucca, G. A., Distante, D.; "Model-Driven Fast Prototyping of RIAs: From Conceptual Models to Running Applications", IEEE International Workshop on Software Engineering for Web Application Development (SEWAD-2014; 24 – 27 September 2014; Delhi - India), IEEE Press.

Draft

C33

Distante, D., Cerulo, L., Visaggio, C.A., Leone, M.; "Enhancing Online Discussion Forums with a Topic-Driven Navigational Paradigm: A Plugin for the Moodle Learning Management System", 6th International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval (KDIR 2014; October 21-24, 2014; Rome - Italy), Scitipress Co.

Draft

J11

Distante, D., Risi, M., Scanniello, G.; "Enhancing Navigability in Websites built using Web Content Management Systems", International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering (IJSEKE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Vol. 24, Issue 3. Print ISSN: 0218-1940, Online ISSN: 1793-6403.

Websites built using Web Content Management Systems (WCMSs) usually provide their users with three types of access structures to surf their contents: indexes of categories, breadcrumb trails, and sitemaps. In addition, to find contents of his/her interest, a user can perform more or less advanced full-text searches. In this paper we propose an automatic approach to extend the navigation structure of websites developed using WCMSs with Semantic Navigation Maps (SNMs), a complementary navigation structure that enables linking and navigating contents based on their lexical similarity. The approach uses an information retrieval technique (namely, Latent Semantic Indexing) to identify lexical similarities between textual contents, and a fuzzy clustering algorithm to form groups of similar web pages. For each page of the website, a set of navigation links towards pages showing similar content and a measure of such similarity is provided. The paper presents the approach to generate SNMs, an implementation for the Joomla! open source WCMS, and the results of an empirical evaluation involving two real world websites built using this WCMS.

Draft - DOI

B2

Kienle, H., Distante, D.; "Evolution of Web Systems". In "Evolving Software Systems" by Mens, Tom; Serebrenik, Alexander; Cleve, Anthony (Eds.) pp 201-228. ISBN 978-3-642-45397-7 Springer Berlin Heidelberg (2014).

Draft - DOI

2013

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J10

Bernardi, M. L., Cimitile, M., Distante, D., "Web Applications Design Recovery and Evolution with RE-UWA", Journal of Software: Evolution and Process. Volume 25, Issue 8, pp. 789–814. John Wiley & Sons Inc. (2013).

This paper presents a semi-automatic approach for the recovery and evolution of the design of existing Web Applications (UWA) design framework, a methodology based on a set of models and tools, for the user-centered design of multichannels context-aware Web applications. In the first phase a representative set of the application's front-end Web pages are analyzed to abstract the 'as-is' design model of the application according to the UWA methodology. In the second phase, the recovered design model is evolved to define the 'to be' version of it. This evolution activity considers the up-to-date requirements available for the application and UWA design guidelines to identify shortcomings and opportunities of improvements in the 'as-is' design. The reverse modeling phase exploits clustering and clone detection techniques and is supported by the RE-UWA tool platform, an Eclipse integrated development environment customized to implement the reverse engineering process defined to extract formal UWA models expressed as instances of a Meta Object Facility metamodel. The forward design phase is supported by a set of UWA modeling tools that are built on top of the Eclipse Modeling Framework and the Eclipse Graphical Modeling Framework. The proposed design recovery and evolution approach is applied to four real-world Web applications and the obtained results are also presented in the paper.

DOI - Preprint

C32

Urbieta, M., Distante, D., Rossi, G., Schwinger, W., "Managing Volatile Requirements in Web Applications." In Proceedings of The 15th IEEE International Symposium on Web Systems Evolution (WSE 2013: Sept. 27, 2013; Eindhoven, The Netherlands), pp. 77-82. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2013.

Web applications allow business to offer services or products to numerous users with different culture, context, and needs. There are situations where applications must adapt to unforeseen and temporary business requirements, such as a one-off market campaign to launch a new product, beta features for engaging users, or disaster solidarity features that remain in the application for a period of time. In this paper, we summarize an approach for dealing with this sort of volatile requirements and present challenges in the research field that must be addressed.

DOI - Preprint

C31

Bernardi, M. L., G. Di Lucca, Distante, D., and Cimitile, M., "Model Driven Evolution of Web Applications." In Proceedings of The 15th IEEE International Symposium on Web Systems Evolution (WSE 2013: Sept. 27, 2013; Eindhoven, The Netherlands), pp. 45-50. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2013.

Reverse engineering is usually used to recover miss- ing and up to date models of a software system to support its comprehension when changes are required to maintain or evolve it. Model driven engineering approaches have been recently pro- posed to develop more quickly web applications with a high de- sign quality and maintainability. Integrating reverse engineering techniques with model driven web engineering methods originates evolution approaches that would reduce the evolution effort while improving the quality of the modified web application. Such an evolution process exploits the models recovered by reverse engineering as the inputs of a model driven web engineering approach to design and implement the modified/evolved version of the application. This paper describes a general process for the model driven evolution of web applications, suitable for any model driven web engineering method. An instance of such a process tailored for the Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) design methodology is also briefly summarized.

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C30

Cerulo, L., Distante, D., "Topic-Driven Semi-Automatic Reorganization of Online Discussion Forums: A Case Study in an E-Learning Context". In Proceedings of The 4th IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON 2013: March 13-15, 2013; Berlin - Germany), pp. 303 - 310. IEEE (2013).

Online discussion forums represent, nowadays, one of the main asynchronous communication means and information sources over the Internet. The forum paradigm is adopted by the most followed websites, such as social networks and blogs. The effectiveness of discussion forums as information source, i.e., the capability to satisfy their users' information needs, depends on their information richness first, but also on how their are organized and effectively moderated. Forums organized and moderated by topics of discussion tend to host messages on related subjects and, overall, provide a classification of message threads which eases information search. In this paper we propose a semi-automatic approach to detect topics of discussion in a forum and to enhance its organization by providing a hierarchical topic-driven navigation view on its messages. We adopt Information Retrieval (IR) techniques, such as topic modeling, and formal concept analysis (FCA) to identify discussion topics and to provide a hierarchical topic-centered view on messages. We tested the validity of our approach on four forums of the e- learning platform of an Italian distance-learning university which provides around 20 moderated and unmoderated main forums followed actively by almost 5000 users, including students and teachers, each year. We validated the topics identification and messages to topics allocation process with a specific empirical experiment obtaining promising results.

DOI - Preprint

E5

Distante, D., Wong, K., Kontogiannis, K., Tilley, S. (Eds.): 15th IEEE International Symposium on Web Systems Evolution, WSE 2013, Eindhoven, Netherlands Sept. 27, 2013. IEEE 2013, ISBN: 978-1-4799-1608-5.

2012

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J9

Urbieta, M., Rossi, G., Distante, D., Ginzburg, J. "Modeling, Deploying, and Controlling Volatile Functionalities in Web Applications", International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering (IJSEKE), Volume 22, Issue 1, pp. 129-155, World Scientific Publishing Co. (2012)

One of the main characteristics of most Web applications is their high dynamism. Once implemented and deployed for the first time, new functionalities are added to meet new or changed requirements. Some of these functionalities may appear on the Web in response to an unexpected event, or phenomena (such as a natural calamity) after which they are removed. Some others are activated periodically, to coincide with a particular date, or period of the year (such as, return to school, Christmas holidays, etc.). Implementing such volatile functionalities usually impacts on a number of aspects of a Web application, including content, navigation, presentation, business processes, and user operations. Their cyclic activation/deactivation, which requires repetitive changes in the application code, may be the cause of waste of effort and application quality deterioration, up to incorrect functioning. In this paper, we present an approach to decouple the design and implementation of volatile functionalities from that of stable ones, i.e. the core functionalities of the application. The approach is instantiated in the context of the Object-Oriented Hypermedia Design Method (OOHDM), but its principles and related techniques are generally applicable to any other Web engineering method. We show how our approach enables the deployment and removal of these functionalities in a cost-effective and safe way and at runtime, thus providing business agility. A framework to classify volatile functionalities and a number of examples are also reported.

DOI - Preprint

C29

Bernardi, M. L., Canfora, G., Di Lucca, G., Di Penta, M. and Distante, D. "Do Developers Introduce Bugs when they do not Communicate? The Case of Eclipse and Mozilla". In Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering (CSMR 2012: March 27-30, 2012; Szeged, Hungary), pp.139-148, ISBN 978-0-7695-4666-7 IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA. (2012).

Developers working on related artifacts often communicate each other to coordinate their changes and to make others aware of their changes. When such a communication does not occur, this could create misunderstanding and cause the introduction of bugs. This paper investigates how the level of communication between committers relates to their proneness to introduce faults. This is done by identifying committers likely responsible of bug-introducing changes, and comparing-through social network measures-characteristics of their communication with the characteristics of other committers. We report results from a study conducted on bugs from Eclipse and Mozilla, indicating that bug-introducing committers have a higher social importance than other committers, although the communication between themselves is significantly lower than for others.

DOI - Preprint

E4

Scott R. Tilley, Damiano Distante, Gustavo Rossi (Eds.): 14th IEEE International Symposium on Web Systems Evolution, WSE 2012, Trento, Italy, September 28, 2012. IEEE 2012, isbn 978-1-4673-3057-2.

2011

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C28

Bernardi, M. L., Distante, D., and G. Di Lucca "A Model-Driven Approach for the Fast Prototyping of Web Applications." In Proceedings of The 13th IEEE International Symposium on Web Systems Evolution (WSE 2011: Sept. 30, 2011; Williamsburg, VA, USA). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2011.

This paper presents an approach for the model-driven fast prototyping of Web applications. The approach exploits well known Model-Driven Engineering frameworks and technologies, such as Eclipse EMF, GMF, and Xpand, to enable the design of a Web application and the automatic generation of the code artifacts implementing a ready to deploy prototype of it. The approach allows to effortlessly and quickly carry out a modeling-generation-validation process in order to validate and refining the design of a Web application before actually implementing it. The paper describes the approach and the process followed to define it, the supporting tools and the technologies used to develop them, and the results from a case study of designing and generating the prototype of a Web application for on-line note taking and sharing. The process and the technologies used to develop the proposed approach can be reused to develop a fast prototyping approach for a different design model and a different target technology platform.

DOI - Preprint

J8

Garrido, A., Rossi, G., Distante, D. "Refactoring for Usability in Web Applications". IEEE Software, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 60-67, May/June 2011, doi:10.1109/MS.2010.114. IEEE Computer Society.

Refactoring was originally conceived as a technique for enhancing the design of an existing code base by applying small behavior-preserving transformations to the code. Later research extended scope of refactoring to other software artifacts, such as design models, and widened its intent to improve additional software quality factors, such as performance. In this article, the authors discuss how to improve the usability of a Web application by applying refactoring on its design structure. We also classify each refactoring by the specific usability factor it improves and the bad usability smells it targets. Some examples of Web model refactorings illustrate our claims.

DOI - Preprint

C27

Bernardi, M. L., Sementa, C., Zagarese, Q., Distante, D., and Di Penta, M. "What Topics do Firefox and Chrome Contributors Discuss?". In Proceedings of The 8th Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR 2011; May 21-22, 2011; Honolulu, Hawaii). ACM Press: New York, NY, 2011.

Firefox and Chrome are two very popular open source Web browsers, implemented in C/C++. This paper analyzes what topics were discussed in Firefox and Chrome bug re- ports over time. To this aim, we indexed the text contained in bug reports submitted each semester of the project his- tory, and identified topics using Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA). Then, we investigated to what extent Firefox and Chrome developers/contributors discussed similar topics, ei- ther in different periods, or over the same period. Results indicate a non-negligible overlap of topics, mainly on issues related to page layouting, user interaction, and multimedia contents.

DOI - Preprint

2010

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C26

Bernardi, M.L., Di Lucca, G., A., Distante, D. "Improving the Design of Existing Web Applications". In Proceedings of The 7th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology (QUATIC'2010; 27 Sept. - 02 Oct. 2010; Oporto, Portugal). IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, 2010.

Large-scale Web Applications, especially those intended to publish contents and provide information to its users, are by nature subject to continuous and fast changes. This often means fast obsolescence of the design documentation and a lot of effort required to comprehend the application when performing maintenance and evolution tasks. This paper presents a reverse engineering approach for Web Applications enabling the semi-automatic recov- ery of user-centered conceptual models describing, from a user perspective, key aspects, such as the delivered contents and navigational paths. The abstracted models are formal- ized according to the Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) design methodology, but any other design method for Web Applications could be used instead. The paper describes the recovery process, a tool developed to support the process, and the results from a case study conducted to validate the approach on a set of real world Web Applications.

DOI - Preprint

C25

D. Distante, M. Risi, G. Scanniello “Extending Web Content Management Systems’ Navigation Capabilities with Semantic Navigation Maps” In Proceedings of 12th IEEE International Symposium on Web Systems Evolution (WSE 2010: Sept. 17-18, 2010; Timişoara, Romania). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, pp. 23-27.

This paper presents an approach based on information retrieval and clustering techniques for automat- ically enhancing the navigation structure of a Web site for improving navigability. The approach increments the set of navigation links provided in each page of the site with a semantic navigation map, i.e., a set of links enabling navi- gating from a given page to other pages of the site showing similar or related content. The approach uses Latent Seman- tic Indexing to compute a dissimilarity measure between the pages of the site and a graph-theoretic clustering algorithm to group pages showing similar or related content according to the calculated dissimilarity measure. AJAX code is finally used to extend each Web page with an associated semantic navigation map. The paper also presents a prototype of a tool developed to support the approach and the results from a case study conducted to assess the validity and feasibility of the proposal.

DOI - Preprint

C24

Bernardi, M.L., Cimitile, M., Distante, D., and Mazzone, F. "Web Applications Design Evolution with UWA". In Proceedings of the 12th International Symposium on Web Systems Evolution (WSE 2010: Sept. 17-18, 2010; Timişoara, Romania). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2010.

This paper presents a semi-automatic approach to Web applications design evolution which leverages the Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) design framework, a methodology and a set of models and tools for the user-centered design of multi- channels and context-aware Web applications. The approach is based on a two-step redesign process: first a semi-automatic reverse modeling phase analyzes the html pages of the application front-end to abstract a model of the "as-is" design, according to the UWA formalism; second, a forward design phase starts from the recovered models and the (new) requirements available for the application to identify lacks and opportunities of improvements in the "as-is" design and produce the "to-be" version of it. The reverse modeling phase applies clustering and clone detection techniques and is supported by an Eclipse IDE environment. The forward design phase is supported by a set of UWA modeling tools which are built on top of the Eclipse Graphical Editing Framework (GEF) and of the Eclipse Graphical Modeling Framework (GMF) and that allow developers to evolve the recovered models. The results from a concrete case study to assess the validity of the redesign approach are also presented and discussed.

DOI - Preprint

2009

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J7

Scanniello, G., Distante, D., Risi, M., "An Approach and an Eclipse Based Environment for Enhancing the Navigation Structure of Web Sites". International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer (STTT), Volume 11, Number 6 (2009), 469-484, DOI: 10.1007/s10009-009-0125-2. ISSN 1433-2779. Springer Berlin / Heidelber. 2009

This paper presents an approach based on information retrieval and clustering techniques for automatically enhancing the navigation structure of a Web site for improving navigability. The approach increments the set of navigation links provided in each page of the site with a semantic navigation map, i.e., a set of links enabling navigating from a given page to other pages of the site showing similar or related content. The approach uses Latent Semantic Indexing to compute a dissimilarity measure between the pages of the site and a graph-theoretic clustering algorithm to group pages showing similar or related content according to the calculated dissimilarity measure. AJAX code is finally used to extend each Web page with an associated semantic navigation map. The paper also presents a prototype of a tool developed to support the approach and the results from a case study conducted to assess the validity and feasibility of the proposal.

DOI - Preprint

J6

Bernardi, M.,L., Di Lucca, G.,A., Distante, D. "The RE-UWA Approach to Recover User Centered Conceptual Models from Web Applications". International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer (STTT), Volume 11, Number 6 (2009), 485-501, DOI: 10.1007/s10009-009-0126-1 . ISSN 1433-2779. Springer Berlin / Heidelber. 2009

Large-scale Web Applications, especially those intended to publish contents and provide information to its users, are by nature subject to continuous and fast changes. This often means fast obsolescence of the design documentation and a lot of effort required to comprehend the application when performing maintenance and evolution tasks. This paper presents a reverse engineering approach for Web Applications enabling the semi-automatic recovery of user-centered conceptual models describing, from a user perspective, key aspects, such as the delivered contents and navigational paths. The abstracted models are formalized according to the Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) design methodology, but any other design method for Web Applications could be used instead. The paper describes the recovery process, a tool developed to support the process, and the results from a case study conducted to validate the approach on a set of real world Web Applications.

DOI - Preprint

C23

Distante, D., Risi, M., Scanniello, G. "An Eclipse Plug-in to Enhance the Navigation Structure of Web Sites". In Proceedings of the Fourth Italian Workshop on Eclipse Technologies 2009. (Eclipse-IT 2009; Sept. 28-29, 2009; Bergamo - Italy). http://ceur-ws.org/, ISSN 1613-0073

This paper presents a process and a tool developed as an Eclipse plug-in for automatically enhancing the navigation structure of Web sites. The process extends each page of a site with a Semantic Navigation Map, i.e., a set of links connecting the page to other pages of the site showing similar or related content. The process uses Latent Semantic Indexing to compute a dissimilarity measure between the pages of the site, a graph theoretic clustering algorithm to identify groups of pages with similar or semantically related content, and AJAX code to extend each page with the corresponding Semantic Navigation Map. Semantic navigation maps for a given Web site are recovered once and kept up to date as new pages are added to the site or content of existing pages is updated. Additionally to presenting the process, the underlying techniques and the tool supporting the process, the paper also presents the results obtained from a case study involving three real world Web sites.

J5

Garrido, A., Rossi, G., and Distante, D. "Systematic Improvement of Web Applications Design", Journal of Web Engineering, Special Issue on Web Application Evolutions, Vol. 8, No. 4 pp. 371-404 (2009) © Rinton Press. 2009.

Web applications are usually characterized by a rapid development process and continuous evolution. This evolution implies growth of the graph of pages and navigation paths, as well as new functionality and new data made available to the user. Measurement of the system usability, periodic or after a time of growth, is crucial to the system's evolution in the line of design maturity and to prevent the system from decay. This kind of evolution is one of the main practices of agile methods, in which design improvement occurs daily during development and often during maintenance. In this paper we propose a list of changes for the design models of a Web application and when they may be applied, in order to improve the application's usability while preserving its functionality. The purpose of the proposed changes is to improve the maturity of the design instead of adding new features; we call them Web design improvements. This paper starts a catalogue of Web design improvements for the navigation and presentation models of a Web application. Since changing these models has direct impact on the user experience with the application, our Web design improvements aim at improving the external quality and user experience.

Preprint

J4

Ginzburg, J., Distante, D., Rossi, G., Ubierta, M. “Oblivious Integration of Volatile Functionality in Web Application Interfaces”, Journal of Web Engineering, Special Issue on Design of Sophisticated Web-based Systems, Vol. 8, No. 1 (2009) 025-047 © Rinton Press. 2009.

Web applications are used to fast and continuous evolution. In response to new or changing requirements, additional code is developed and existing one is properly modified. When new requirements are temporary, i.e., when they specify some volatile functionality that is expected to be online only for some time and then removed, the additions and changes are destined to be later rolled back. This way to proceed, apart from being time and effort demanding, by involving the intrusive editing of the application’s source code, brings along the risk of polluting it and introducing mistakes. In this paper, we present an approach to deal with volatile functionality in Web applications at the presentation level, based on oblivious composition of Web user interfaces. Our approach, which is inspired by well-known techniques for advanced separation of concerns such as aspect-oriented software design, allows to clearly separate the design of the application’s core user interface from the one corresponding to more volatile functionality. Both core and volatile user interfaces are oblivious from each other and can be seamlessly composed using a transformation language. We show that in this way we simplify the application’s evolution by preventing intrusive edition of the user interface code. Using some illustrative examples, we focus both on design and implementation issues, presenting an extension of the OOHDM design model that supports modular design of volatile functionality.

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2008

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J3

Olsina, L., Garrido, A., Rossi, G., Distante, D., Canfora, G. "Web Application Refactoring and Evaluation: A Quality Improvement Approach", Journal of Web Engineering, Vol. 7 No. 4 December 1, 2008. pp. 258-280. © Rinton Press, 2008.

Web applications must be usable and accessible; at the same time, their continuous evolution makes it difficult to keep a high degree of external quality. Refactoring is a practice of agile methods well-suited for the maintenance and evolution of Web applications. However, this practice is mainly intended and used to improve maintainability and extensibility of the design and code rather than external qualities such as usability. We believe that the concept of refactoring as "behavior-preserving transformations" can be applied to the navigation and presentation models of a Web application with the purpose of improving external quality. For this reason we have defined the concept of Web model refactoring. This paper demonstrates how it is possible to improve the external quality of a Web application by combining a mature quality measurement and evaluation method (WebQEM) with Web model refactoring. WebQEM is used to identify needs for improvement, recommend Web model refactorings and assess their impact on some defined attributes of a Web product entity. We present a case study showing how a typical shopping cart in an e-commerce site can improve its usability and content quality with our integrated improvement approach.

Preprint

C22

Gustavo Rossi, Matias Urbieta, Jeronimo Ginzburg, Damiano Distante, and Alejandra Garrido "Refactoring to Rich Internet Applications. A Model-Driven Approach", 8th International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE 2008; July 14-18, 2008; Yorktown Heights, NJ), pp. 1-12. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2008.

Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) combine the simplicity of the hypertext paradigm with the flexibility of desktop interfaces. The quick emergence of these applications is driving a new (r)evolution in the Web field. Building RIAs from scratch is often unfeasible because companies do not want to loose their investments in legacy Web software; additionally, most users are still accustomed to the “old” Web interaction style. In this paper we present an evolutionary approach to transform conventional Web software into RIAs; we show how to apply the wellknown refactoring concept to seamless introduce rich interface functionality in a Web application. By applying refactoring at the model level, we make the transition more systematic and less prone to error. We briefly introduce the problem with a simple example, and then we describe two refactorings and present our approach to specify these refactorings at the interface design level.

Preprint
C21

Scanniello, G. , Distante, D., Risi, M.: "Using Semantic Clustering to Enhance the Navigation Structure of Web Sites". In Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Web Site Evolution (WSE 2008: Oct. 03-04, 2008; Beijing, China). pp. 55-64. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2008.

This paper presents an automatic approach based on semantic clustering to enhance the navigation structure of Web sites. The approach extends the navigation structure of a Web site by introducing a set of links that enable the navigation from each page of the site to other pages showing similar or related content. The approach uses Latent Semantic Indexing to compute a dissimilarity measure between the pages of the site and a Graph-Theoretic clustering algorithm to group pages having similar or related content. The additional links are then introduced into each page of the site by using AJAX code to dynamically inject links from the page to the others within the same cluster. A prototype of a supporting tool and the results from a case study conducted to assess the feasibility of the approach are also presented.

Preprint
C20

Bernardi, M. L., Di Lucca, G. A., Distante, D.: "Reverse Engineering of Web Applications to Abstract User-Centered Conceptual Models". In Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Web Site Evolution (WSE 2008: Oct. 03-04, 2008; Beijing, China). pp. 101-110. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2008.

The Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) Hyperbase model is a user-centered conceptual model representing the contents of a Web application, their organization in terms of entities and components, and the semantic associations between entities from which navigation paths are derived. Such a model may provide useful support for the software engineer during maintenance and evolution tasks. This paper presents a strategy for the semi-automatic abstraction of UWA Hyperbase models from existing Web applications. The results from a case study, involving four applications from real world, carried out to assess the effectiveness of the strategy are also presented and discussed.

Preprint

2007

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E3

Distante, D., Tilley, S., Bolchini, D., Dean, T. (guest editors) Journal of Software Maintenance and Evolution: Research and Practice. Special Issue on Web Site Evolution (WSE 2006). Volume 29 Issue 5, pp. 277-279, ISSN: 1532-060X. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007.

J2

Distante, D., Rossi, G., Canfora, G., and Tilley, S. “A Comprehensive Design Model for Integrating Business Processes in Web Applications”. In International Journal of Web Engineering and Technology (IJWET), Volume 2, Issue 1, 2007, pp 43-72. Inderscience Publishers, 2007.

Web applications have evolved from simple read-only websites to complex data- and operation-intensive systems. The main goal of this kind of application is to provide the users with services that assist them in carrying out activities according to a given set of business rules. The addition of transactions to modern web applications poses new challenges, such as managing the interplay between business process execution and navigation, and improving the user's experience in accessing the services that the web application offers. This paper presents a comprehensive design model for integrating business processes in web applications. The model is based on UWAT+, an extended and revised version of the Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) Transaction Design model for designing web transactions. UWAT+ makes it possible to design web application transactions according to the user's perspective and to integrate the web transaction design with the information and navigation design of the web application.

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C18

Olsina, L., Rossi, G., Garrido, A., Distante, D., Canfora, G.: "Incremental Quality Improvement in Web Applications Using Web Model Refactoring". In Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Web Usability and Accessibility (IWWUA 2007). In conjuntion with the 8th International Conference on Web Information Systems Engineering (WISE 2007; December 3-7, 2007; Nancy, France). Lecture Notes in Computer Science series, Springer-Verlag publisher, 2007.

Web applications must be usable and accessible; besides, they evolve at a fast pace and it is difficult to sustain a high degree of external quality. Agile methods and continuous refactoring are well-suited for the rapid development of Web applications since they particularly support continuous evolution. However, the purpose of traditional refactorings is to improve internal quality, like maintainability of design and code, rather than usability of the application. We have defined Web model refactorings as transformations on the navigation and presentation models of a Web application. In this paper, we demonstrate how Web model refactorings can improve the usability of a Web application by using a mature quality evaluation approach (WebQEM) to assess the impact of refactoring on some defined attributes of a Web product entity. We present a case study showing how a shopping cart in an e-commerce site can improve its usability by applying Web model refactorings.

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C17

Garrido, A., Rossi, G., and Distante, D.: "Model Refactoring in Web Applications". In Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Web Site Evolution (WSE 2007: Oct. 05-06, 2007; Paris, France). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2007.

Refactoring has been growing in importance with recent software engineering approaches, particularly agile methodologies, which promote continuous improvement of an application’s code and design. Web applications are especially suitable for refactoring because of their rapid development and continuous evolution. Refactoring is about applying transformations that preserve program behavior. Code refactorings apply transformations to the source code while model refactorings apply to design models, both with the purpose of increasing internal qualities like maintainability and extensibility. In this paper we propose Web model refactorings as transformations that apply to the design models of a Web application. Particularly, we define refactorings on the navigation and presentation models, and present examples. Since changing these models impacts on what the user perceives, the intent of Web model refactorings is to improve external qualities like usability. They may also help to introduce Web patterns in a Web application.

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C16

Distante, D., Pedone, P., Rossi, G., Canfora, G. "Model-Driven Development of Web Applications with UWA, MVC and JavaServer Faces." 7th International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE2007: July 16-20, 2007; Como, Italy).

This paper presents a model-driven approach to the development of web applications based on the Ubiquitous Web Application (UWA) design framework, the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern and the JavaServer Faces technology. The approach combines a complete and robust methodology for the user-centered conceptual design of web applications with the MVC metaphor, which improves separation of business logic and data presentation. The proposed approach, by carrying the advantages of Model-Driven Development (MDD) and user-centered design, produces Web applications which are of high quality from the user's point of view and easier to maintain and evolve.

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C15

Rossi, G., Ginzburg, J., Urbieta, M., Distante, D. "Transparent Interface Composition in Web Applications." 7th International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE2007: July 16-20, 2007; Como, Italy). Awarded for the Best Paper at ICWE 2007.

In this paper we present an approach for oblivious composition of Web user interfaces, particularly for volatile functionality. Our approach, which is inspired on well-known techniques for advanced separation of concerns such as aspect-oriented software design, allows to clearly separate the design of the core’s interface from the one corresponding to more volatile services, i.e. those that are offered for short periods of time. Both interfaces are oblivious from each other and can be seamlessly composed using a transformation language. We show that in this way we simplify the application’s evolution by preventing intrusive edition of the interface code. Using some illustrative examples we focus both on design and implementation issues, presenting an extension of the OOHDM design model which support modular design of volatile functionality.

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C14

Distante, D., Huang, S. "Challenges and Lessons Learned in Teaching Software Engineering Programming to Hearing Impaired Students." In Proceedings of The 20th Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training (CSEE&T 2007: July 3-5, 2007; Dublin, Ireland).

Teaching academic courses to students with disabilities is a challenging task, particularly for academics who are presented with the teaching requirements and needs that this implies, for the first time. Courses in the field of engineering and computer science, by requiring a lot of hands-on practices and teamwork, further exacerbate the situation as how to provide an effective learning experience for these disabled students. This situation requires a higher-level commitment than normal, from both the teachers and students. This paper presents the experience gained from teaching courses that involved hearing impaired students of an undergraduate software engineering and a programming language course in two different universities. Some of the challenges faced by both instructors and the students are identified and some possible solutions are described.

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C13

Distante D., Rossi, G., and Canfora, G. "Modeling Business Processes in Web Applications: An Analysis Framework." In Proceedings of the The 22nd Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC 2007: March 11 - 15, 2007, Seoul, Korea). ACM

The addition of business processes to modern web applications entails new challenges to be faced when developing them, hence the need for suitable methodologies to be adopted in the design phase. In response to this need, most of the design methodologies for web application available in the literature include a proper solution. In this paper we propose a framework for analyzing and comparing web application design methodologies with regard to their support for modeling business processes. The analysis framework has proved to be useful for assessing the ability of each considered methodology to deal with the design of business processes in web applications. The framework also provides suggestions on how to possibly enhance a given methodology.

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2006

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E2

Bolchini, D., Dean, T., and Distante, D. (editors). Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Web Site Evolution (WSE 2006: September 23-24, 2006; Philadelphia, PA-USA). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2006.

J1

Aversano, L., Bruno, M., Canfora, G., Di Penta, M., and Distante, D. “Using Concept Lattices to Support Service Selection”. In International Journal of Web Services Research, 3(4), 32-51, October-December 2006 (JWSR). Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 2006.

When building a service-oriented system, a service integrator retrieves a set of potentially useful services from registries and then inspects their documentation to eventually decide which services to use. This task needs to be supported by proper tools that help service interface/documentation understanding, highlighting the relationships existing between the retrieved services. This paper proposes an approach, based on Formal Concept Analysis, to understand relationships between services, as well as between operations of a complex service, by analyzing service interfaces and documentation. The approach allows an analyst to cluster similar services, highlights hierarchical relationships and, in general, commonalities and differences between services. To support the proposed approach, we developed a tool that provides several service browsing capabilities. Finally, the approach has been evaluated with different case studies built upon real sets of services.

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C12

Di Lucca, G., A., Distante, D., Bernardi, M., L. "Recovering Conceptual Models from Web Applications." In Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Design of Communication (SIGDOC 2006: October 25-27, 2006, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA). ACM Press: New York, NY, 2006.

This paper proposes a reverse engineering approach for abstracting conceptual user-centered models from existing Web applications to re-document them at a high level of abstraction and from a user perspective. The recovered models are specified by referring to the Ubiquitous Web Application (UWA) design methodology. UWA models are able to describe the structure of the application contents, the semantic relations among contents, the different views on contents the application offers to users, and the navigation paths and the navigation nodes used to present contents to users. The approach exploits existing reverse engineering methods and tools to extract fine grained structural information from the analyzed applications and abstracts UWA models from them. The architecture of a tool to support the reverse engineering approach is described and the results from some preliminary experiments are discussed.

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C11

Rossi, G., Nieto, A., Mengoni, L., Lofeudo, N., Nuño, L. S., and Distante, D. "Model-Based Design of Volatile Functionality in Web Applications." In Proceedings of the 4th Latin American Web Congress, (LA-WEB 2006: October 18–20, 2006, Puebla Cholula, Mexico). IEEE Computer Society, 2006.

In this paper we present a model-based approach to integrate dynamic and volatile functionality in Web Applications. Our approach comprises an extension to the OOHDM design method and a software framework which supports the injection of volatile functionality into the design model. We first motivate our work by discussing the problems which arise when dealing with volatile functionality; some meaningful examples are presented. We briefly describe our design approach, showing how to decouple volatile functionality from the core design model. We finally describe an implementation framework which supports the presented ideas extending Apache Struts with the notion of services and service affinities. Finally, we compare our approach with others’ and present some further research we are pursuing.

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C10

Distante, D., Tilley, S., Canfora, G., Huang, S."Redesigning Legacy Applications for the Web with UWAT+: A Case Study." In Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2006: May 20-28, 2006; Shanghai, China; pp 482-491)

This paper reports on a case study of redesigning a legacy application for the Web using the Ubiquitous Web Applications Design Framework with an extended version of its Transaction Design Model (UWAT+). Web application design methodologies hold the promise of engineering high-quality and long-lived Web systems and rich Internet applications. However, many such techniques focus solely on green-field development, and do not properly address the situation of leveraging the value locked in legacy systems. The redesign process supported by UWAT+ holistically blends design recovery technologies for capturing the know-how embedded in the legacy application with forward design methods particularly well suited for Web-based systems. The case study highlights some of the benefits of using UWAT+ in this context, as well as identifying possible areas for improvement in the redesign process and opportunities for tool automation to support it.

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C9

Huang, S. and Distante, D. "On Practice-Oriented Software Engineering Education." In Proceedings of the 19th Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training Workshops (CSEETW 2006: April 18-21, 2006; Turtle Bay, North Shore Oahu, Hawaii)

The old saying “practice makes perfect” has been proven to be true in many fields when training new people to master the skills needed for a particular domain. It is even truer for software engineering education. Software engineering, by and large, is the application of engineering to software. Unlike other disciplines in the computer sciences, only by coupling theory and practice can students (who usually lack real-world working experience) understand some of the abstract concepts and principles taught in software engineering courses. This paper summarizes our experience in teaching software engineering courses in two different universities using a practice-oriented approach that guides students through learning the different, and yet abstract, aspects of the software engineering process.

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C8

Distante, D. Tilley, S., Canfora, G."Towards a Holistic Approach to Redesigning Legacy Applications for the Web with UWA and UWAT+." In Proceedings of the The 10th European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering (CSMR 2006: March 22-24, 2006; Bari, Italy) pp. 295-299.

Web applications design methodologies hold the promise of engineering high-quality and long-lived Web systems and rich Internet applications. However, many such methodologies focus solely on green-field development, and do not properly address the situation of leveraging the value locked in legacy systems. This paper proposes a holistic approach to redesigning legacy applications for the Web using the Ubiquitous Web Applications Design Framework (UWA) and an extended version of its Transaction Design Model (UWAT+). The approach blends design recovery technologies for capturing the know-how embedded in the legacy application with forward design methods particularly well suited for Web-based systems.

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C7

Huang, S., Tilley, S., VanHilst, M., and Distante, D. “Adoption-Centric Software Maintenance Process Improvement via Information Integration”. In Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Software Technology and Engineering Practice (STEP 2005: September 24-25, 2005; Budapest, Hungary). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2006.

Software process improvement is an iterative activity, normally involving measurement, analysis, and change. For most organizations, the existing software process has substantial momentum and is seemingly immovable. Any change to existing process activities causes turbulence in the organization, which can be a significant barrier to adoption of the quality improvement initiative. This paper presents a quiescent, non-invasive, and adoption-centric approach to process improvement for software maintenance. The approach realizes the goal of improving the efficiency of existing processes by minimizing changes to existing workflows and focusing on integrating enhancements at the microlevel of the system. By leveraging information buried in existing data, making it explicit, and integrating the results with known facts, more informed decision-making is made possible. The approach is illustrated with a model problem concerning redocumentation of an embedded control system in the context of performing higher-quality software maintenance.

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C6

Bennett, K., Distante, D., and Tortorella, M. “Evolution of Software Systems in a Business Context”. Workshop Report. In Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Software Technology and Engineering Practice (STEP 2005: September 24-25, 2005; Budapest, Hungary). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2006.

2005

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E1

Distante, D. (editor). Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Web Site Evolution (WSE 2005: September 26, 2005; Budapest, Hungary). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2005.

B1

Tilley, S., Distante, D., and Huang, S. "Design Recovery of Web Application Transactions". In Advances in Software Evolution with UML and XML (Editor: Hongji Yang). Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, May 2005.

Modern Web sites provide applications that are increasingly built to support the execution of business processes. In such a transaction-oriented Web site, the user executes a series of activities in order to carry out a specific task (e.g., purchase an airplane ticket). The manner in which the activities can be executed is a consequence of the transaction design. Unfortunately, many Web sites are constructed without proper attention to transaction design. The result is a system with unpredictable workflow and a lower-quality user experience. This chapter presents an example of the recovery of the “as-is” design model of a Web application transaction. The recovery procedure is prescriptive, suitable for implementation by a human subject-matter expert, possibly aided by reverse engineering technology. The recovered design is modeled using extensions to the transaction design portion of the UML-based Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) framework. Recovery facilitates future evolution of the Web site by making the transaction design explicit, which in turn enables engineers to make informed decisions about possible changes to the application. Design recovery of a commercial airline’s Web site is used to illustrate the process.

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C5

Colombo, M., Di Nitto, E., Di Penta, M., Distante, D., Zuccalà, M.: "Speaking a Common Language: A Conceptual Model for Describing Service-Oriented Systems." In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Service Oriented Computing (ICSOC 2005: December 12-15, 2005; Amsterdam, The Netherlands). Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 3826, Springer Ed., 2005.

The di usion of service-oriented computing is today heavily in uencing many software development and research activities. Despite this, service-oriented computing is a relatively new eld, where many aspects still su er from a lack of standardization. Also, the service-oriented approach is bringing together researchers from di erent communities or from organizations having developed their own solutions. This introduces the need for letting all these people communicate with each other using a common language and a common understanding of the technologies they are using or building. This paper proposes a conceptual model that describes actors, activities and entities involved in a service-oriented scenario and the relationships between them. While being created for a European project, the model is easily adaptable to address the needs of any other service-oriented initiative.

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C4

Distante, D., Tilley, S.: "Conceptual Modeling of Web Application Transactions: Towards a Revised and Extended Version of the UWA Transaction Design Model." In Proceedings of the 11th International Multi-Media Modelling Conference (MMM2005: January 12-14, 2005; Melbourne, Australia). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2005.

Business Web applications are complex data- and operation-intensive Web applications intended to support business processes. In this kind of application, the user executes sets of activities organized into transactions (also generally called workflows) in order to accomplish one of his/her tasks or fulfill one of his/her goals. The way these transactions are structured, the properties associated with their component activities and the way each activity is implemented by the Web application are a consequence of the transaction design as well as the business rules implied by the business process. The Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) design framework explicitly includes a design activity and a related meta-model, called the Transaction Design Model, specifically focused on the conceptual design of Web application transactions (Web Transactions for short). This paper describes preliminary steps towards a revised and extended version of the UWA Transaction Design Model that emphasizes a usercentered approach, is easier to adopt and manages the information, navigation and operation aspects involved in a Web Transaction in a comprehensive and integrated way.

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2004

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C3

Distante, D., Tilley, S., Huang, S.: "Documenting Software Systems with Views IV: Documenting Web Transaction Design with UWAT+." In Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Design of Communication (SIGDOC2004: October 10-13, 2004; Memphis, TN). ACM Press: New York, NY, 2004, pp. 33-40.

This paper describes an approach to documenting the conceptual design of Web Transactions using UWAT+. A Web Transaction is a collection of serial and/or parallel activities that contributes to achieving a user-oriented business objective using a Web-based application. UWAT+ is a meta-model for describing the various aspects of a Web Transaction in a holistic manner. It is an extension of the Transaction Design Model that is part of the Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) framework, a comprehensive framework for designing ubiquitous Web applications. A series of (extended) UML diagrams are used to graphically document the UWAT+ meta-model, which greatly facilitates adoption of the approach by practicing software engineers and technical writers. Use of the approach for documenting Web Transaction designs in both forward and reverse engineering processes is described.

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C2

Distante, D., Tilley, S., Huang, S.: "Web Site Evolution via Transaction Reengineering." In Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Web Site Evolution (WSE 2004: Sept. 11, 2004; Chicago, IL). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2004.

In a transaction-oriented Web site, the user executes a series of activities in order to carry out a specific task (e.g., purchase an airplane ticket). The manner in whichthe activities can be executed is a consequence of the transaction design, partially influenced by the constraints implied by the business model underlying the Web application. Unfortunately, many Web sites are constructed with the transaction design hidden in the overall system implementation. The result is a system with unpredictable workflow, which can make evolution difficult. This paper presents a technique for Web site evolution via transaction reengineering. The reengineering process consists of the recovery of the “as-is” design model of a Web application transaction, an analysis of the result to determine desirable restructuring options, and a redesign of the transaction model based on this analysis. The reengineering process relies on formalism that is a user-centered extension of the Transaction Design Model of the Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) framework. The goal of the reengineering process is to emerge with a transaction design that better reflects the user experience and also facilitates disciplined evolution of the Web-based application. An example from the travel industry is used to illustrate the process.

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C1

Distante, D., Parveen, T. and Tilley, S.: "Towards a Technique for Reverse Engineering Web Transactions from a User’s Perspective." In Proceedings of the 12th International Workshop on Program Comprehension (IWPC 2004: June 24-26, 2004; Bari, Italy). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2004, pp. 142 - 150.

Many Web sites could improve their users’ experience through systematic analysis of transaction paths, so that users’ expectations and site design are more closely aligned. This paper outlines preliminary steps towards a technique for reverse engineering Web transactions from a user’s perspective. The result of the reverse engineering activity is a conceptual model that is based on extensions to the transaction design portion of the Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) framework. In particular, changes to the definition of an “activity,” redefinitions of the “PropertySet” associated with an activity, and refinements to the UWA Organization and Execution models are proposed.

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Workshop Position Papers

P2Rossi, G., Gordillo, S., and Distante, D.: "Improving Web Applications Evolution by Separating Design Concerns." IEEE Software Technology and Engineering Practice 2005 (STEP 2005: September 24-25, 2005; Budapest, Hungary), Workshop on Evolution of Software Systems in a Business Context. 2005.
P1Tilley, S. and Distante, D.: "On the Adoption of an Approach to Reengineering Web Application Transactions." 4th International Workshop on Adoption-Centric Software Engineering (ACSE 2004: May 25, 2004; Edinburgh, Scotland, UK), 2004.

Other Publications

Distante, D., "Le soluzioni commerciali e organizzative per uno shopping mall", Report of the Innovation Engineering Department, University of Lecce, February 2002.
Distante, D., "Lo schema HDM della Shopping Mall per le aziende del comparto tessile-abbigliamento salentino", Report of the Innovation Engineering Department, University of Lecce, February 2002.
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