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In 2007, I started a PhD research program into developing a modelling language for interactive web applications with the Institute of Information Sciences and Technology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. I successfully completed in 2011, and graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in 2012. The project summary follows.

For more information, contact me at jevon@jevon.org. A project website is available at http://openiaml.org, with the source code of the project available at http://code.google.com/p/iaml. I also have a blog at jevon-phd jevon-phd.

Project Title

A Modelling Language for Interactive Web Applications

Project Summary

Web-based application development has become a well established approach to software development, and several modelling approaches have been proposed, but none of these have become widely accepted in the software engineering community.

Many existing models focus solely on the hypertext structure, but have poor support for important web application-specific concepts, such as sessions and request forwarding. New technologies such as AJAX and web services go beyond the abilities of traditional modelling languages.

In this project, we propose to develop or extend a modelling language which is appropriate to model interactive web applications, including support for asynchronous content update, complex application events, and formal model verification. It will also be platform-independent and standards-based.

Research Methodology

The first research required will be a study of existing literature, to identify what work has already been done, and potential extension points. This will be performed simultaneously with the development of requirements from a comprehensive selection of real-world use cases for web applications. (This work has already been completed.)

These requirements will be compared with existing approaches (such as WebML and UWE), allowing us to identify if an existing language should be extended, or a new approach should be developed. Prototypes of real-world applications will then be developed as proof-of-concepts, which will be compared with existing work. This approach will be iterated multiple times until a sufficiently concise solution is developed.

As further proof-of-concept, a CASE tool implementing the language may be developed, most likely through existing platforms such as ArgoUML or EMF.

Relationships will be established and maintained with leading national and international researchers in the field of web engineering, and multiple papers demonstrating our progress and achievements will be published over the course of the project.

See Also

  1. openiaml.org
  2. Jevon Wright @ DBLP
  3. Jevon Wright @ Google Scholar


  1. J. Wright, "ModelDoc: A Model-Driven Framework for the Automated Generation of Modelling Language Documentation," Technical Report, 2012. pdf, bibtex
  2. J. Wright, "A Modelling Language for Rich Internet Applications," Ph.D. Thesis, 2011. bibtex
  3. J. Wright, "The Development of a Modelling Language for Rich Internet Applications," in the New Zealand Computer Science Research Student Conference (NZCSRSC 2010), Wellington, New Zealand, 2010. pdf, poster
  4. J. Wright and J. Dietrich, "Non-Montonic Model Completion in Web Application Engineering," in Proceedings of the 21st Australian Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC 2010), Auckland, New Zealand, 2010. web, pdf, slides, bibtex, [DOI]
  5. J. Wright, "A Modelling Language for Interactive Web Applications," in Proceedings of the Doctoral Symposium at the 24th International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE 2009), Auckland, New Zealand, 2009. web, pdf, ppt.zip, bibtex
  6. J. Wright, "Use cases for Rich Internet Applications," Technical Report, 2009. web, pdf
  7. J. Wright and J. Dietrich, "Requirements for Rich Internet Application Design Methodologies," in Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Web Information Systems Engineering (WISE 2008), Auckland, New Zealand, 2008. web, pdf, ppt.zip, bibtex, [DOI]
  8. J. Dietrich, N. Jones and J. Wright, "Using Social Networking and Semantic Web Technology in Software Engineering - Use Cases, Patterns, and a Case Study". Systems and Software, 2008. [DOI]
  9. J. Wright and J. Dietrich, "Survey of Existing Languages to Model Interactive Web Applications," in Proceedings of the Fifth Asia-Pacific Conference on Conceptual Modelling (APCCM 2008), Wollongong, NSW, Australia, 2008. pdf, ppt.zip, bibtex, [ACM]
  10. J. Wright, "Towards an Interactive Web Modelling Language," in Proceedings of the 2007 SIENZ Workshop, Auckland, New Zealand, 2007. pdf, ppt.zip, bibtex

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