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Towards a Generic Cloud-based Modeling Environment

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  • 1. Towards a Generic Cloud-based Modeling Environment
    Laszlo Juracz and Larry Howard
    Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University
    Nashville, U.S.A.
    International Conference on Digital Information Processing and Communications, Ostrava, Czech Republic, July 7-9, 2011.
  • 2. Our focus
  • 3. v
    FRAMEWORK
    Visual Languages
    Diagrams
    Models
    DSMLs
    Deployed in a
    • collaborative
    • 4. cloud computing
    • 5. educational
    ... environment
    Browser-based
  • What are diagrams?
    - Visualize ideas and depict information
    Ancient times
    Computers, Graphical UI
    Prehistoric times
    Land-maps
    Religious ideas
    Mathematical- and
    Scientific concepts
    Scientific and
    Engineering diagrams,
    Standard notations
  • 9. Models in SE and DSMLs
    • Diagrammatic appearance
    • 10. Constraints, strictly enforced visual syntax
    Interpreter
  • Requirements
  • 15. What would we want from a diagramming/modeling tool operating in the cloud?
    • No installation, runs in the browser
    • 16. Accessible / usable on various devices
    • 17. Share my stuff with others
    • 18. Work on the same documents simultaneously, individually or in a collab. env. (virtual whiteboarding)
    • 19. Cloud storage
  • Some of it is already out there…


    • No installation, runs in the browser
    • 20. Accessible / usable on various devices
    • 21. Share my stuff with others
    • 22. Work on the same documents simultaneously, individually or in a collab. env. (virtual whiteboarding)
    • 23. Cloud storage






  • 24. Some of it is already out there… … but we want more


    • No installation, runs in the browser
    • 25. Accessible / usable on various devices
    • 26. Share my stuff with others
    • 27. Work on the same documents simultaneously, individually or in a collab. env. (virtual whiteboarding)
    • 28. Cloud storage







    • Version control (fork, revert, merge, resolve conflicts)
    • 29. Provides gateways to external services/processes (analysis, deployment, …)
    • 30. Can be embedded / integrated / toolchained
    • 31. Re-usable, generic



  • 32. Design challenges
  • 33. Use-case 1:HTML-based Educational Diagramming Tool
  • 34. Design criteria
    Usability and User Experience
    • Revamp of the old Flash UI in HTML/JS
    • 35. Smooth UX, intuitive UI, affordance
    • 36. Device-agnostic performance
    • 37. Suitable for educational apps
    • 38. Accessible by users with various skill levels
    Extendibility and Configurability
    • Understands a Descriptor Language (meta)
    • 39. Interaction and integration with remote services
    • 40. Handles user permissions
    • 41. UI adapts to author/edit modes
    User-centered design
  • 42.
  • 43. Use-case 2:Modeling in the browser
    Vision of a future collaborative work environment for MIC
    • Discover
    • 44. Share / Publish
    • 45. Version Control
    • 46. Plugin architecture for extendibility
    • 47. Provides interface
    • 48. to interpreters
    • 49. to other modeling services (validation, analysis, simulation)
    Optimistic locking, conflict resolution
  • 50. Model visualizer for conflict resolution
  • 51. Usability vs. Constraint Checking (in the browser)
    • Constraints enforce syntax and semantic rules
    • 52. Diagram- and model building is guarded by constraints:
    • 53. Constraint-violating operations should be not allowed or
    • 54. Should be Aborted and
    • 55. Warning message should be issued
    • 56. UI should inform the user of allowed edit operations
  • Usability vs. Constraint Checking (in the browser)
    Full-scale solution would rely on
    • constant constraint checking and running remote interpreters
    • 57. could not be entirely ported to the client-side (JS platform)
    • 58. would cause terrible user experience.
    The concept of lightweight constraints (LWC)
    • optimal subset of all the constraints and rules
    • 59. checked directly on the client side in JS
    • 60. enforced construction-time, preferably in advance: it prevents constraint-validation by blocking the user from doing it.
    Complete validation, including remote interpretation should be triggered less frequently / manually.
  • 61.
  • 62. Concept overview
  • 63. Architecture
    HTML(5) / JS
    Python / TurboGears
  • 64. Descriptor Language
    Instances
  • 65. Library Package
  • 66.
    • Re-sable, extendible base classes
    • 67. UI is implemented in jQuery
    • 68. Custom UI controls
    • 69. User operations are logged, deltas are saved
    • 70. LWC checking, operations can be rolled back
    • 71. LWC can be defined in library descriptor
  • Status and future
  • 72.
    • Preliminary design challenges are successfully discovered
    • 73. Client side core is under testing /development
    • 74. Prototypes of educational apps built on the framework will be utilized in classroom experiments in fall 2011 (FBD, flowcharts)
    • 75. Model visualizer will be delivered in 2012
    • 76. Design of the server side module is getting finalized
    • 77. Looking for new opportunities
  • Thank you!
    Laszlo Juraczlaszlo.juracz@vanderbilt.edu

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