Application integration on the user interface level: An ontology-based approach
During the past decades, software engineering has changed due to the growing number of available components and the pressure to produce software systems of larger complexity in ever shorter periods of time. The task of integrating components has thus become equally important as developing those components. Unfortunately, components typically do not come with fitting screws and bolts that make such an integration an easy task. Especially when it comes to the integration of user interface (UI) components, current approaches still lack mechanisms for seamlessly integrating components and allowing cross-component interactions, most notably when heterogeneous components, developed with different technologies and programming languages, are involved. UI integration typically involves the acquisition of knowledge about the applications’ internal functionality as well as many hacks and workarounds, which in the end lead to code-tangling and a monolithic architecture that is hard to maintain. This paper discusses an approach employing formal ontologies and rules for overcoming these problems and simplifying UI integration.