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Automated construction of the user interface for a CERIF‐compliant research management system

Gordana Milosavljević (Faculty of Technical Sciences, Novi Sad, Serbia)
Dragan Ivanović (Faculty of Technical Sciences, Novi Sad, Serbia)
Dušan Surla (Faculty of Sciences, Novi Sad, Serbia)
Branko Milosavljević (Faculty of Technical Sciences, Novi Sad, Serbia)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 4 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the goal, which is to construct a user interface for CERIF‐compatible research management systems in an automated way. The system has to support all data items defined by the CERIF data model. The result of the automated construction is a functioning software system that can be customised according to the specific needs by manual changes in the program code.

Design/methodology/approach

The Model‐Driven Architecture (MDA) approach to software engineering is based on the idea of automated construction of software applications based on the model of a system. System modelling usually utilises the Unified Modelling Language (UML). A specific UML profile (extension) used for describing user interface‐related aspects of the system model is defined. It is used to define the behaviour of the user interface in the model itself. By relying on the concept of a standard generic screen form implementing common data management operations and tools for automatic code generation it is possible to obtain a fully functional software application that is completely defined by the system model.

Findings

A proposal of an automated user interface construction method for CERIF‐compatible research management systems is defined. The proposed application enables the management of all CERIF‐specified data items and facilitates the customisation of the model according to the specific needs. The customisation process is automated by using the tools for user interface code generation based on human‐computer interaction (HCI) standard defining the layout and behaviour of generic screen forms. The amount of automatically generated application functionality justifies the use of the model‐driven approach to software development.

Practical implications

Using the model of a system it is possible to efficiently produce a functional software application that can further be customised according to the needs of specific institutions and users. The customisation process itself is made efficient since it is iteratively performed using the same cycles of modelling and software generation. The proposed method for automated user interface construction is used for implementing the web application for research management at the University of Novi Sad.

Originality/value

A proposal for efficient software system development and its customisation is given. This way a software application is obtained that can be quickly adapted to new requirements and used in different research management systems based on a CERIF‐compatible data model.

Keywords

Citation

Milosavljević, G., Ivanović, D., Surla, D. and Milosavljević, B. (2011), "Automated construction of the user interface for a CERIF‐compliant research management system", The Electronic Library, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 565-588. https://doi.org/10.1108/02640471111177035

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited