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HMI M EETING 2011. Models and Tools for Human-Machine Interaction. From Pattern-based User Interfaces To Conceptual Schemas and Back (based on ER’2011) Ravi Ramdoyal and Anthony Cleve. Centre of Excellence in Technologies of Information and Communication Charleroi, Belgium.

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From Pattern-based User Interfaces To Conceptual Schemas and Back


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    1. HMI MEETING 2011 Models and Tools for Human-Machine Interaction From Pattern-based User Interfaces To Conceptual Schemas and Back (based on ER’2011)Ravi Ramdoyal and Anthony Cleve Centre of Excellence in Technologies of Information and Communication Charleroi, Belgium Lab. of DB Application Engineering PReCISE Research Centre Faculty of Computer Science, University of Namur Namur, Belgium

    2. Agenda Introduction Research context Proposal Discussion Conclusion From Pattern-based User Interfaces To Conceptual Schemas and Back

    3. Introduction • Necessity to involve end-users in Information Systems Engineering • Especially true during Requirements Engineering phase • Requirements are typically expressed through conceptual models (e.g. ER) • Graphical representation • Intrinsically complex • Difficult to apprehend by the laymen • Electronic forms • Natural, intuitive, linkable to the ER model Forward / ReverseEngineering

    4. Introduction IS-A  FD UIDLs • Approaches using electronic forms to convey conceptual requirements • Batini et al. (1984), Choobineh et al. (1992), Kösters et al. (1996), Rollinson and Roberts (1998), Rode et al (2005), Terwilliger et al. (2006), Yang et al. (2008) • (Too) rich UIDLs • (Too) poor schema structures • The RAINBOW approach overcomes these limitations [CAiSE’10, IJCSIS’11] • Simple form-based interfaces model with direct conceptual counterparts • Effective to express, discuss and validate conceptual requirements • Overall process tedious at times • Objective : improve this process • Identify critical semantic patterns of conceptual schemas • Define corresponding widget patterns • Steer the drawing process using such patterns + specific heuristics …

    5. Agenda • Introduction • Research context • Overview of the RAINBOW approach • Current form-based interface model • Forms vs Final schema • Proposal • Discussion • Conclusion

    6. Research context > Overview of the RAINBOW approach (1/2) • A collaborative and interactive approach to design the conceptual schema of an IS • Adaptation and integration of techniques from different disciplines • User-drawn form-based interfaces as a two-way communication channel • Communication of static data requirements between end-users and analysts • Structure of the approach • Seven dedicated steps • Simple structure for conceptual schemas • Atomic attributes, binary relationships, … • Advanced constraints • Integrity constraints, existence constraints, identifiers, functional dependencies, …

    7. Research context > Overview of the RAINBOW approach (2/2) user-drawn form-based interfaces conceptual schemas data samples Represent Adapt Nurture Wander Objectify Bind validated constraints and dependencies database queries prototype integrated schema hierarchised and unified pre-integrated schema Investigate

    8. Research context > Current form-based interface model • Most usual widgets with direct conceptual counterpart

    9. Research context > Forms vs Final schema (1/4) Represent

    10. Research context > Forms vs Final schema (2/4) Adapt

    11. Research context > Forms vs Final schema (3/4) Investigate Nurture Bind ? ? ? NON DETERMINISTIC

    12. Research context > Forms vs Final schema (4/4) • Loss of representativeness between the forms and the schema • Sequentiality of the overall process • Drawing step • Several (non deterministic) analysis step • How can we merge these steps to ensure the co-evolution of the forms and their underling conceptual schema?

    13. Agenda • Introduction • Research context • Proposal • Formal overview • Missing constructs • A new pattern-based form model • A heuristic-driven process • Converse process • Discussion • Conclusion

    14. Formal overview • Current process • (1) Surjective mapping MHCI M ER- • (2) Non deterministic interpretation M ER-  M ER • Improved process • An extended form model M HCI* • A new surjective mapping (3) M HCI*M ER • A set of semantic and structural heuristics H (on-the-fly integration)

    15. Missing constructs (1/2) BINARY RELATIONSHIP TYPES IS-A HIERARCHIES

    16. Missing constructs (2/2) • Typical structural redundancies as IS-A or relationship types • Typical relationship patterns (non bijective)

    17. A new pattern-based form model • Unchanged widgets • Form containers top level entity types • Inputs  monovalued simple attributes • Selections  mono/multivalued simple attributes • Buttons  procedural units • Recombination of fieldsets and tables • Composed fields  monovalued compound attributes • Category containers  IS-A hierarchies • Pattern containers  multivalued compound attributes and relationship types: • Complementary containers concepts complementing the current container • Component containers compositions • Contributor containers aggregations • Specimen containers materialisations • Visible/Hidden referential attributes

    18. A heuristic-driven process (1/2) • Detect and process semantic ambiguities on-the-fly Arbitrate + Uniform

    19. A heuristic-driven process (2/2) • Detect and process structural redundancies on-the-fly Characterize + Adapt

    20. New representation of the forms

    21. Converse process • Generating forms from a schema is straightforward • Generating RAINBOW forms from a given schema is less trivial • Schema transformation and annotation • Restrict inter-concept relationships to binary RT and IS-A hierarchies • Explicit if ET must appear as a form or a compound attribute • Identify patterns and specify the roles of each ET in a RT • Specify which elements should be hidden/visible in the forms • Such modifications enable to obtain a bijection between the schema and the forms

    22. Generalization of the principles of the RAINBOW approach: Integrated and iterative process instead of a sequential process Coevolution of the interfaces and the conceptual schema Reduced articulatory distance The RAINBOW approach is a proven process, but there are still tests to be led Expressiveness of the new form model Usability of the form model Discussion

    23. Simple form-based interface model Understandable and expressive counterpart to conceptual schemas Extension of the principles of the RAINBOW approach Surjective mapping between form model and ER model Heuristics  on-the-fy characterisation of intra-concept relationships Inverse translation Future works Integrate constraints and dependencies Improve tool support Continue the experimentation and validation process Conclusion

    24. Thank you for your attention… Any questions? www.fundp.ac.be/precise www.cetic.be www.info.fundp.ac.be Anthony Cleve anthony.cleve@fundp.ac.be www.info.fundp.ac.be/~acl be.linkedin.com/in/anthonycleve Ravi Ramdoyal ravi.ramdoyal@cetic.be www.cetic.be/ravi-ramdoyal be.linkedin.com/in/raviramdoyal

    25. BONUS

    26. Tool support The RAINBOW Tool Kit Written in Java, using different libraries: QT Jambi, for graphical rendering Secondstring, for string comparison WordNet, for ontological comparison DB-Main, to interact with its ER repository …

    27. Validation • Two main research questions : • Do the RAINBOW approach and tool support help end-users and analysts communicate (i.e. express, capture, validate) static data requirements to each other? • What is the quality of the conceptual schema produced using the RAINBOW approach? • Non trivial research questions • 2 preliminary studies to : • Define and validate an experimentation canvas • Participant / Observer for the effectiveness • Brainstorming / Focus group for the quality • Get a first insight on the implementation of the approach

    28. Validation • Encouraging results: • The chosen widgets seem sufficient to express concepts • But different drawing behaviours (pro-activity, creativity, aesthetics...) • The approach induces discussions on the specifications that are not supported by it • User involvement : • The end-users were enthusiastic • The guidance and good will of the analyst are vital! • Tool support: a successful proof-of-concept • Produced schemas comparable to raw hand-made schemas • An adequate experimentation canvas • Experimentation to be continued ... in another thesis?

    29. Comparison of existing approaches NB: The symbol "/" means that no details were explicitly provided for the given characteristic.

    30. Discussion > Specificities (1/2) Integration of different disciplines Identify, tailor and integrate their principles and techniques End-users as major stakeholders throughout the data requirements process Interfaces as a means rather than an end product Interfaces as a communication language, with its possible flaws Collaboration with the analyst Using Reverse Engineering for the purpose of Forward Engineering « Build the truth » rather than « Find the truth » Controlled / monitored input

    31. Discussion > Specificities (2/2) A modular and non standard view integration process Different types of potential users Non linear approach System evolution support through a transformational approach Traceability and reversibility Preservation and propagation of (previous) decisions A rich and relevant part of requirement specifications Dependencies, constraints, IS-A’s … Major part of the application domain Extensible through other elicitation techniques

    32. Discussion > Possible improvements Extending the approach Develop and implement BIND and WANDER Incorporate dynamic aspects (in the forms and their use) Improve specification reusability through the tool support Refine the semantic and structural analysis Expand the analysis of data samples, constraints and dependencies Improving tool support Fine-tuning the tools User-friendliness (usability, ergonomy, …) Pursuing the experimentation based on a improved canvas Multiple cases, multiple settings, long time span Update the canvas to include the findings of the preliminary case studies

    33. Publications 2011 Ravi Ramdoyal, Jean-Luc Hainaut, Involving End-Users In Database Design - The RAINBOW Approach in International Journal on Computer Science and Information Systems (IJCSIS) Special issue on “Users and Information Systems, International Association for Development of the Information Society (IADIS) (accepté pour publication). 2011 Ravi Ramdoyal, Anthony Cleve, From Pattern-based User Interfaces to Conceptual Schemas and Back, in Proceedings of ER'2011, Bruxelles, Belgique, Octobre 2011, LNCS (accepté pour publication). 2011 Ravi Ramdoyal, Jean-Luc Hainaut, Interactively Eliciting Database Constraints and Dependencies, in Proceedings of CAiSE 2011, Londres, Royaume-Uni, Juin 2011, LNCS (accepté pour publication). 2010 Ravi Ramdoyal, Anthony Cleve, Jean-Luc Hainaut, Reverse Engineering User Interfaces for Interactive Database Conceptual Analysis, in Proceedings of CAiSE 2010, Hammamet, Tunisie, Juin 2010, LNCS, p332-347. 2010 Ravi Ramdoyal, Reverse Engineering User-Drawn Form-Based Interfaces for Interactive Database Conceptual Analysis, in Proceedings of CAiSE Doctoral Consortium 2010, Hammamet, Tunisie, Juin 2010, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, volume 593. 2009 Ravi Ramdoyal, Anthony Cleve, Anne-France Brogneaux, Jean-Luc Hainaut, Rétro-ingénierie d'interfaces utilisateur pour l'analyse conceptuelle de bases de données, in Proceedings of the 25èmes Journées en Bases de Données Avancées (BDA 2009), Namur, Belgique, Octobre 2009. 2007 Ravi Ramdoyal, Anne-France Brogneaux, Julien Vilz, Jean-Luc Hainaut, Research de recouvrements dans une collection de schémas de base de données, in Proceedings of the DECOR Workshop, EGC 2007, Namur, Belgique, Janvier 2007. 2006 Julien Vilz, Anne-France Brogneaux, Ravi Ramdoyal, Vincent Englebert, Jean-Luc Hainaut, Data Conceptualisation for Web-Based Data-Centred Application Design, in Proceedings of CAiSE 2006, Luxembourg, Juin 2006, p205-219. 2005 Anne-France Brogneaux, Ravi Ramdoyal, Julien Vilz, Jean-Luc Hainaut, Deriving User-requirements From Human-Computer Interfaces, in Proceedings of the 23rd IASTED International Multi-Conference on Applied Informatics (Databases and Applications), Innsbruck, Autriche, Fevrier 2005, p77-82.