Which widgets? Deriving implementations from formal user-interface specifications

  • Andrew Hussey
  • David Carrington
Part of the Eurographics book series (EUROGRAPH)


We consider the process of transforming a formal user-interface specification, expressed using an interactor-based notation, to a form expressed in terms of “widgets” (common interactors). A set of patterns is provided for transforming user-interface specifications. By defining a user-interface design using widgets, determining the user-interface’s presentation is simplified. Such transformation corresponds to redefinition of abstract user tasks at a more concrete level. We illustrate the process by reference to a simple file browser user-interface.


File Content Abstract Specification Interactor Class Mouse Cursor Flatten Pattern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    G. D. Abowd. Formal Descriptions of User Interfaces. Colloquium Digest, 192:7/1–7/3, 1991.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D. J. Duke and M. D. Harrison. Mapping User Requirements to Implementations. Software Engineering Journal, 10(l):13–20, January 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    R. Duke, G. Rose, and G. Smith. Object-Z: A Specification Language Advocated for the Description of Standards. Computer Standards and Interfaces, 17:511–533, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    E. Gamma, R. Helm, R. Johnson, and J. Vlissides. Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. Addison-Wesley, 1994.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    F. Losavio and A. Matteo. A Method for User-Interface Development. Journal of Object-Oriented Programming, pages 22–27, 75, September 1997.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    C. Morgan. Programming from Specifications. Prentice-Hall International Series in Computer Science. Prentice Hall, 2nd edition, 1994.MATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. K. Ousterhout. Tcl and the Tk Toolkit. Addison-Wesley, 1994.MATHGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    ParcPlace Systems Inc. Visual Works User’s Guide. ParcPlace, 1994.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    F. Paterno. A Methodology for a Task-driven Modelling of Interactive Systems Architectures. In Critical Issues in User Interface Systems Engineering, chapter 6, pages 93–108. Springer, 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    A. Puerta. A Model-Based Interface Development Environment. IEEE Software, 14(4):40–47, July/August 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    J. M. Spivey. The Z notation: a Reference Manual. Prentice-Hall, 2nd edition, 1992.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    P. Szekely. Retrospective and Challenges for Model-Based Interface Development. In F. Paterno, editor, Interactive Systems: Design, Specification and Verification — 1st Eurographics Workshop, pages 1–27. Springer-Verlag, 1994.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    M. van Harmelen. Object-Oriented Modelling and Specification for User-interface Design. In F. Paterno, editor, Interactive Systems: Design, Specification and Verification — 1st Eurographics Workshop, pages 199–232. Springer-Verlag, 1994.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    P. Viljamaa. The Patterns Business: Impressions from PLoP-94. Software Engineering Notes, 20(l):74–78, January 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    S. Wilson and P. Johnson. Empowering Users in a Task-Based Approach to Design. In DIS’95 Symposium on Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods and Techniques, pages 25–31. ACM Press, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    S. Wilson, P. Johnson, C. Kelly, J. Cunningham, and P. Markopoulos. Beyond Hacking: A Model Based Approach to User Interface Design. In Proceedings of HCI’93, pages 215–231. Cambridge University Press, 1993.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Hussey
    • 1
  • David Carrington
    • 1
  1. 1.Software Verification Research Centre, School of Information TechnologyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations