Assisted End User Development for Non-programmers: Awareness, Exploration and Explanation of Composite Web Application Functionality
Mashing up existing components allows end users to build custom web applications in order to fulfill situation-specific needs. However, creating and even using mashup applications still turn out to be complicated tasks for non-programmers. Main challenges include understanding the composite nature of mashups and their functionality. Non-programmers typically lack awareness for inter-widget communication and understanding of the functionality individual components and especially a set of combined components provide. Thus, they may struggle to use components as intended. Prevalent mashup approaches provide no or limited concepts and assistance tools in this regard, resulting in more or less successful trial and error strategies of users. In this paper, we introduce novel techniques for exploration, explanation and awareness of mashup functionality. These concepts assist non-programmers to better understand and to be aware of the capabilities that components and their interplay in a mashup provide. Based on annotated component descriptions, interactive explanations and stepwise tutorials are generated and presented directly in the components’ user interface. Additionally, mashup functionality can be explored and active inter-widget communication is visualized to foster awareness of non-programmers. We present our iterative design process which led us from early concepts towards our current solution. The proposed approach is validated with the help of a prototypical implementation within our mashup platform and evaluated by means of a user study. The results indicate that our concepts helps non-programmers to better understand and leverage the functionality of composite web applications.
KeywordsMashup Awareness Inter-widget communication Generated tutorials End User Development Assistance
The work of Carsten Radeck is funded by the European Union and the Free State of Saxony within the EFRE program.
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