Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Legacy Interface Migration:
A Task-Centered Approach

Lanyan Kong (1), Eleni Stroulia (1) and Bruce Matichuk (2) (1) 615 General Services Building, Computing Science Department, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2Hl, Canada {lanyan, stroulia} @cs.ualberta.ca (2) CEL Corporation, 9637-45 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, T6E 5Z8, Canada bmatichuk@celcorp.com


1
Introduction

Legacy systems constitute repositories of valuable corporate knowledge collected over a long time. However their unintuitive text-based interfaces make them difficult to learn and to use, and as a result the problem of migrating legacy interfaces to GUIs has emerged as one among the most interesting and challenging ones in the software industry ( Moore 1996). The approach that we have been investigating in the CelLEST project to the problem of legacy interface migration involves understanding how the system is currently being used, that is how its users interact with it. In this approach, the interaction between the user and the system is recorded, while the user accomplishes her task. Then the recorded interaction trace is abstracted to a specification of the information exchanged between the system and the user. Finally, this specification gives rise to a specific task-oriented GUI design. This approach localizes the reverse-engineering process to these aspects of the legacy system relevant to a specific task, instead of having to deal with the whole body of the system code ( Merlo et. al., 1995). Furthermore, it produces an understanding of the information and the logic of the organization's current processes as they have actually evolved through the system's lifetime. Finally, it enables the development of intuitive, user-friendly graphical interfaces tailored to simplifying the interaction of the user with the system in service of a specific task ( Wilson & Johnson 1995, Sanz & Gomez 1995).


2
The Framework

Our work relies on the CelWare toolkit, developed by CEL corporation. CelWare enables (a) the modeling of the legacy system text interface in terms of

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