Object-Oriented Hypermedia Design and J2EE Technology for Web-Based Applications

Article excerpt

Introduction

Nowadays, the web is one of the most important communication channels which can be accessed on various platforms around the clock all over the world. The internet encompasses more than 10 trillion pages and has about 1 billion users. While the nineteenth century was the pinnacle of industrial revolution, the beginning of the current century is characterized by the information revolution, and the web is the principal engine of this revolution. Noting the ubiquity of the web, many information systems are accessible via the web, and they are called Web Information Systems (WIS).

Modern WIS applications present the information in meticulously crafted, multimedia-enabled texts. This system is not sufficient for the ever-growing need of publishing high volumes of information over the web. Information-intensive web features, like electronic cities, organizational portals, social engineering sites, e-shopping centers, digital libraries, and the like, are present in many web-based applications.

Operational Terminology

Navigation: guiding the users from one place to another. Even though the web is not a physical space, navigational procedures are necessary, so that the users can move in the information space.

Context: a set of navigational nodes with a common property.

Container: a place on the server where application components are situated and are executed therein. Containers provide middle-tier services for the components.

Problem Description

Web information systems allow a user to search in the plethora of information in the internet and perform tasks like research and updating. Some of the specific features in these programs are as follows:

1- They must be developed with high confidence in a short period of time, because the time to market is a critical factor in the success of web-based applications.

2- They must be able to guide the users in the application space in a satisfactory manner.

3- They must be able to respond to large numbers of users.

4-They must integrate with modern telecommunication technologies, in order to support access through mobile devices.

5- They must support a high degree of reusability.

Therefore, in this article, we are going to find a suitable solution for designing applications with these features.

Theoretical Background

We use the component-based architecture of J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) to present solutions for reusability, rapid development, multi-user service, and rely on the object-oriented hypermedia design paradigm for navigation, graphical interface design, and reusability. We believe that the combination of these two methodologies maximizes the capabilities for reusability and rapid development for web-based applications.

Objective

Separation of various parts of web development paves the way for reusability and parallel development, effectively shortening the application development time. However, in most cases these benefits are lost in the implementation phase, mostly because the current implementation methodologies have a meager support for mechanisms of abstraction and composition. For this reason, our major objective is a mapping from the design artifacts to implementation components, and adding navigational capability to applications.

Historical Background

The earliest WIS applications delivered hypermedia content to users in the form of static web pages. Today, with the growing acceptance of the web, users can access up-to-date information presented by dynamic pages and interact with the web sites using the form functionality. The next generation of applications, called Semantic Web Information Systems, can obtain information from one or many sources and provide the user with an integrated version of that information. The design of WIS applications is a very difficult task due to the high volume of information, customization, large number of users, and the need for automatic creation of programs. …