Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Sciences - (Ph.D.)

Department

Computer and Information Science

First Advisor

Michael Bieber

Second Advisor

Murray Turoff

Third Advisor

Vincent Oria

Fourth Advisor

Ravi Paul

Fifth Advisor

Vassilka D. Kirova

Abstract

The Dynamic Hypermedia Engine (DHE) enhances analytical applications by adding relationships, semantics and other metadata to the application's output and user interface. DHE also provides additional hypermedia navigational, structural and annotation functionality. These features allow application developers and users to add guided tours, personal links and sharable annotations, among other features, into applications. DHE runs as a middleware between the application user interface and its business logic and processes, in a n-tier architecture, supporting the extra functionalities without altering the original systems by means of application wrappers.

DHE automatically generates links at run-time for each of those elements having relationships and metadata. Such elements are previously identified using a Relation Navigation Analysis. DHE also constructs more sophisticated navigation techniques not often found on the Web on top of these links. The metadata, links, navigation and annotation features supplement the application's primary functionality.

This research identifies element types, or "classes", in the application displays. A "mapping rule" encodes each relationship found between two elements of interest at the "class level". When the user selects a particular element, DHE instantiates the commands included in the rules with the actual instance selected and sends them to the appropriate destination system, which then dynamically generates the resulting virtual (i.e. not previously stored) page. DHE executes concurrently with these applications, providing automated link generation and other hypermedia functionality. DHE uses the extensible Markup Language (XMQ -and related World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sets of XML recommendations, like Xlink, XML Schema, and RDF -to encode the semantic information required for the operation of the extra hypermedia features, and for the transmission of messages between the engine modules and applications.

DHE is the only approach we know that provides automated linking and metadata services in a generic manner, based on the application semantics, without altering the applications. DHE will also work with non-Web systems.

The results of this work could also be extended to other research areas, such as link ranking and filtering, automatic link generation as the result of a search query, metadata collection and support, virtual document management, hypermedia functionality on the Web, adaptive and collaborative hypermedia, web engineering, and the semantic Web.

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