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Automatic generation of mobile widgets

Claudia Raibulet (Dipartimento di Informatica Sistemistica e Comnicazione, Universitá degli Studi di Milano‐Bicocca, Milan, Italy)
Daniele Cammareri (Open Reply, Milan, Italy)

International Journal of Pervasive Computing and Communications

ISSN: 1742-7371

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




Mobile widgets represent applications exploiting web technologies and providing specific functionalities in an efficient and user‐friendly way. Owing to the low or medium complexity of the mobile widgets, their development may be simplified and optimized through automatic mechanisms. This paper aims to address this issue.


This paper presents an approach to the automatic generation of widgets, which is based on the separation of concerns between the specification of their structural and functional characteristics, and their appearance. The structural and functional features are expressed at a high abstraction level through the authors' Widget Markup Language, while their appearance through pre‐defined or personalized templates. The authors' automatic generator of mobile widgets translates the XML‐based documents containing the widgets description based on the Widget Markup Language into functional widgets for various available technologies.


The main non‐functional properties of the authors' widget generator are related to its extensibility towards new technologies, and the structural and functional aspects of the widgets. The validation of their solution has been done through various case studies, among which they mention the DISCo widget, a mobile widget which provides academic information for the students of the Computer Science Department at the University of Milano‐Bicocca in Italy.


The main advantages of the authors' approach for the development of mobile widgets can be summarized as following: adherence to the Write‐Once‐Run Everywhere paradigm, which allows developers to save time and to not have to be aware of all the differences among the different technologies; the high‐level specification of a widget is simpler than its creation from scratch, and is, therefore, accessible to a greater number of potential developers; separation between the specification and the graphical layout of the widgets; generating widgets can consider, in addition to the platform, the characteristics of devices such as screen resolution or pointing mechanism, saving the developer the management of these aspects and industrial production of widgets, such as scalable management of creating and updating a large number of applications.



Raibulet, C. and Cammareri, D. (2011), "Automatic generation of mobile widgets", International Journal of Pervasive Computing and Communications, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 132-146.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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