Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Cloud meets Model-Driven Engineering


Cloud computing is enormously promising in terms of providing scalable and elastic infrastructure for software applications, as well as innovative business opportunities.
However, its complexity (both in terms of understanding and adoption) is often underestimated.

That's why Model-Driven Engineering (MDE), whose focus is to elevate conceptual models to first class artefacts of the software development process, can come at hand also for addressing software issues on the cloud.

MDE is enormously promising in terms of automating tedious or error prone parts of systems engineering. There is a huge potential in identifying synergies between MDE and cloud computing; this is the focus of the workshop CloudMDE 2014. This year, the MODELS conference will host the second edition of the workshop, in Valencia (Spain), on September 30, 2014.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the workshop call.

Model Driven Engineering (MDE) features powerful tools, including for constructing models and managing them (e.g., via transformation, code generation, merging), though numerous challenges and difficulties arrive in adopting and deploying the tools. MDE principles, practices and tools are also becoming more widely used in industrial scenarios. Many of these scenarios are traditional IT development (e.g., focusing on code generation), and emphasis on novel or evolving deployment platforms has yet to be seen.
Cloud computing is a computational model in which applications, data, and IT resources are provided as services to users over the Internet. Cloud computing exploits distributed computers to proxvide on-demand resources and services over a network (usually the Internet) with the scale and reliability of a data centre. There are different types of clouds; organizations can provide hardware for clouds internally (internal clouds), or a third party can provide it externally (hosted clouds). A cloud might be restricted to a single organization or group (private clouds), available to the general public over the Internet (public clouds), or shared by multiple groups or organizations (hybrid clouds).

Let's put them together! A nice example of this is the brand new cloud implementation of WebRatio.

All the papers presented at the workshop are available online as CEUR-WS proceedings at:

http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1242/



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Monday, September 8, 2014

IFML: opensource editor and university program


A bunch of new things are happening related to the recent OMG standard IFML (Interaction Flow Modeling Language):



1. A new opensource editor for the standard has been released on GitHub, together with appropriate introductory instructions and welcome page, thanks to the collaboration of WebRatio, Politecnico di Milano and Ecole des Mines de Nantes within the AutoMobile EU SME Research Project. The Editor has been developed as an EMF-based Eclipse plug-in using Obeo Sirius framework.



2. A new University Program has been released by WebRatio, which allows free access to the WebRatio Platform licenses, online multimedia and interactive learning materials, and free access to two WebRatio IFML Certification sessions.




3. And finally, stay tuned for the upcoming official delivery of Version 1.0 of the IFML standard, together with the new book on IFML, scheduled to be published shortly by Morgan Kauffman and the OMG Press (and already available for preview on Amazon!).

(and look at my tutorial on IFML to learn more on the language)

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Mobile app development - Extensions for IFML modelling language, tool and code generator presented at MobiWIS



Front-end design of mobile applications is a complex and multidisciplinary task, where many perspectives intersect and the user experience must be perfectly tailored to the application objectives. However, development of mobile user interactions is still largely a manual task, which yields to high risks of errors, inconsistencies and inefficiencies.

The contribution of the AutoMobile research project (lead by WebRatio) is a model-driven approach to mobile application development based on the IFML standard by the OMG.


We recently wrote a paper on the subject, which got accepted at the MobiWIS 2014 conference, in Barcelona. In this paper we propose a model-driven approach to mobile application development based on the IFML standard. We propose an extension of the Interaction Flow Modeling Language tailored to mobile applications and we describe our implementation experience that comprises the development of automatic code generators for cross-platform mobile applications based on HTML5, CSS and JavaScript optimized for the Apache Cordova framework.

We show the approach at work on a popular mobile application, we report on the application of the approach on an industrial application development project and we provide a productivity comparison with traditional approaches.

 Eric Umuhoza, affiliated with Politecnico di Milano and Ecole des Mines de Nantes, presented the paper at MobiWIS 2014 regarding the research conducted in the AutoMobile project, lead by WebRatio.

 Here are the slides of the presentation:


 

and here is the link to the paper published by Springer:
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-10359-4_15



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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fifteen Years of Industrial Model-Driven Development in Software Front-ends. Find WebRatio and IFML on the Novatica Journal (in Spanish!)


Novatica, the official journal of the Spanish association of Computer Science Technicians (ATI), just published a monographic issue on "Adopción industrial de la ingeniería del software dirigida por models" (industrial adoption of model-driven software engineering practices).

Together with a set of interesting experiences mainly in the Spanish market, the issue also features an article about WebML, WebRatio and IFML, written by Stefano Butti and myself, and graciously translated to Spanish by Matteo Silva and the WebRatio team in Latin America.
The paper discusses the history behind the standard IFML, recently adopted by the Object Management Group. We show how our initial proposal called WebML has been an incubator for research and industrial exploitation on conceptual modeling, exploiting existing experiences in the field and continuously addressing new challenges concerning abstractions, methods, tools, and technologies. We summarize the essence of the approach and we show the supporting modelling tool WebRatio at work.

This journal issue is a valuable resource, especially for Spanish-speaking people, as you will be able to find a comprehensive coverage of the model-driven market in Spain, and more in general some interesting industrial experiences with model-driven approaches (all written in Spanish!).

For your convenience, you can find the English and Spanish preprint versions of the articles here, in the form of WebRatio white papers, courtesy of WebRatio and Novatica.



Here below you can find the original front page of our article as published in Novatica:




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Friday, July 4, 2014

Pattern-Based Specification of Crowdsourcing Applications - ICWE 2014 best paper

I'm really proud to announce that our paper "Pattern-Based Specification of Crowdsourcing Applications" has received the BEST PAPER award at ICWE 2014 (International Conference on Web Engineering), held in Toulouse in July 2014. The paper was authored by Alessandro Bozzon, Marco Brambilla, Stefano Ceri, Andrea Mauri, and Riccardo Volonterio.

The work addresses the fact that in many crowd-based applications, the interaction with performers is decomposed in several tasks that, collectively, produce the desired results.
A number of emerging crowd-based applications cover very different scenarios, including opinion mining, multimedia data annotation, localised information gathering, marketing campaigns, expert response gathering, and so on.
In most of these scenarios, applications can be decomposed in tasks that collectively produce their results; Tasks interactions give rise to arbitrarily complex workflows.

In this paper we propose methods and tools for designing crowd-based workflows as interacting tasks.
We describe the modelling concepts that are useful in such framework, including typical workflow patterns, whose function is to decompose a cognitively complex task into simple interacting tasks so that the complex task is co-operatively solved.
We then discuss how workflows and patterns are managed by CrowdSearcher, a system for designing, deploying and monitoring applications on top of crowd-based systems, including social networks and crowdsourcing platforms. Tasks performed by humans consist of simple operations which apply to homogeneous objects; the complexity of aggregating and interpreting task results is embodied within the framework. We show our approach at work on a validation scenario and we report quantitative findings, which highlight the effect of workflow design on the final results.

Here are the slides presented by Alessandro Bozzon during the ICWE conference:


Here is Alessandro Bozzon presenting:




and here is the picture of the actual award:

ICWE 2014 Best Paper Award Certificate to Pattern-Based Specification of Crowdsourcing Applications. Bozzon, Brambilla, Ceri, Mauri, Volonterio

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IFML - Interaction Flow Modeling Language 1.0 - My tutorial on UI and UX modeling & design at ICWE 2014

This year, ICWE - International Conference on Web Engineering, took place in Toulouse, France.

Given the upcoming adoption by the OMG - Object Management Group of IFML, I decided to give a tutorial on it there. IFML, the Interaction Flow Modeling Language (IFML) is designed for expressing content, user interaction and control behaviour of the front-end of software applications, as well as the binding to the persistence and business logic layers. IFML is the missing piece for modeling the front end of software applications and perfectly complements other modeling dimensions in broad system modeling projects. Therefore, IFML works best when integrated with other modeling languages in the MDA suite, such as UML and BPMN. This tutorial illustrates the basic concepts of IFML, presents the design best practices and integration with other modelling languages, and discusses some industrial experiences (also featuring quantitative measures of productivity) achieved by the companion tool WebRatio. At the end of the tutorial, attendees will get a general knowledge about IFML (they will be able to design simple models and to derive models from existing interfaces), will be able to associate front-end design with system modelling at large, will see the associated MDE tool WebRatio at work, and will get a glimpse of real-life industrial applications developed for large enterprises. This will let them appreciate the advantages of a model-driven development approach at work within large-scale industrial project.

Here are the slides of my tutorial:


And here are some pictures taken by some attendees:







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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

CrowdServ: International Workshop on Crowdsourcing and Service Management @ ICSOC 2014

This year I am organizing the First  International Workshop on Crowdsourcing and Service Management, together with Alessandro Bozzon (TU Delft) and Khalid Belhajjame (Paris Dauphine Univ.). 

CrowdServ workshop on CrowdSourcing and Web Services at ICSOC

The objective of the first edition of CrowdServ which will be co-located withthe International Conference on Service Oriented Computing (ICSOC) at Paris Dauphine University is to bring researchers and practitioners from the service oriented computing arena to discuss two fundamental issues: 
  • how crowdsourcing can be leveraged to support the efficient and effective management and integration of services. 
  • how crowd and automatic services can be integrated and intertwined to obtain optimal results.
Topics span from modeling, to empirical studies, to early findings and visions.
This is the first attempt in the research community to cover these topics, so I expect the workshop to be an exciting opportunity of discussion and exchange.
You can find more details on deadlines and submission procedures at:
… and obviously feel free to get in touch if you like!


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Monday, April 28, 2014

ACM Computing Reviews "Notable Computing Books and Articles of 2013" - our VLDBJ special issue featured

ACM and Computing Reviews put out their list of notable books and articles of 2013.
I'm glad that our "Special issue on structured and crowd-sourced data on the Web" published in the VLDB Journal (The International Journal on Very Large Data Bases, Springer) has been selected, together with only 2 others, as a notable issue in computing in 2013.
The special issue is available on SpringerLink. The direct link to our introductory editorial with the summary of the contributions is this.

You can check out the complete 2013 list of notable items here.


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Textual and Content-Based Search in Repositories of Web Application Models - TWEB paper


The paper "Textual and Content-Based Search in Repositories of Web Application Models" I co-authored together with Bojana Bislimovska, Alessandro Bozzon, and Piero Fraternali has now been published on the ACM Transactions on the Web (TWEB).

The article examines two different techniques for indexing and searching model repositories, with a focus on Web development projects encoded in the domain-specific language WebML. Keyword-based and content-based search (also known as query-by-example) are contrasted with respect to the architecture of the system, the processing of models and queries, and the way in which metamodel knowledge can be exploited to improve search. A thorough experimental evaluation is conducted to examine what parameter configurations lead to better accuracy and to offer an insight in what queries are addressed best by each system.

You can find the full text here:

http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2579991
You can download the full text for free even if you don't have an ACM subscription, through this link:

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Community-based Crowdsourcing - Our paper at WWW2014 SOCM

Today Andrea Mauri presented our paper "Community-based Crowdsourcing" at the SOCM Workshop co-located with the WWW 2014 conference.

SOCM is the 2nd International Workshop on the Theory and Practice of Social Machines and is an interesting venue for discussing instrumentation, tooling, and software system aspects of online social network. The full program of the event is here.

Our paper is focused on community-based crowdsourcing applications, i.e. the ability of spawning crowdsourcing tasks upon multiple communities of performers, thus leveraging the peculiar characteristics and capabilities of the community members.
We show that dynamic adaptation of crowdsourcing campaigns to community behaviour is particularly relevant. We demonstrate that this approach can be very e ffective for obtaining answers from communities, with very di fferent size, precision, delay and cost, by exploiting the social networking relations and the features of the crowdsourcing task. We show the approach at work within the CrowdSearcher platform, which allows con figuring and dynamically adapting crowdsourcing campaigns tailored to different communities. We report on an experiment demonstrating the eff ectiveness of the approach.

The figure below shows a declarative reactive rule that dynamically adapts the crowdsourcing campaign by moving the task executions from a community of workers to another, when the average quality score of the community is below some threshold.



The slides of the presentation are available on Slideshare. If you want to know more or see some demos, please visit:

http://crowdsearcher.search-computing.org

 
The full paper will be available on the ACM Digital Library shortly.

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