Model-Based UI Meeting - 2 November 2010, Lyon, France

This meeting will take place in the Terreaux VIP Lounge Level 0 - Terreaux, from 2pm until 6pm at the latest


We will try to use Google docs for the minutes as this will make it easier for remote participants to contribute during the meeting. We will use IRC for a side channel #mbui with skype as a fall back.

Aims of the meeting

This meeting is intended to discuss plans for chartering new work at W3C relating to the use of model-based approaches for developing context aware user interfaces for web applications. This will involve some consideration of the scope and also of relevant standards, both current and under development.

Draft Agenda

Chair: Fabio Paternò
Scribe: Dave Raggett

Minutes on Google Docs


Setting the Scene

Fabio presents an overview of the role of model-based approach for user interface development. [link to slides (pptx)].

We go around the room to collect thoughts and topics for discussion.

We could try to compare the models we have currently, and try to see what is common across tools, and to see if we can define a basis for interchange.

We can take advantage of the different projects e.g. Serenoa.

Dave: if we have a number of existing tools, we can work towards an interchange format, or we could define standards as a means to attracting developers.

It is important that any work at W3C is relevant to businesses as well as academic research. There isn’t any directly applicable standards as yet, and this makes this an interesting topic.

What is Opera’s experience with adaptation of applications e.g. for mobile devices using CSS media queries, and also Opera Mini?

Opera Mini used to reformat for small screens, but now provides a way of accessing full page renderings. We catered for adaptation to desktop, tv and mobile and are interested in the future of adaptation.

UCL is very closely involved in research in this area and are working with companies as well as academic partners. An important point is the communication, and being aware of existing work by different groups. We are very interested in feedback on our work. We would contribute to standards work.

Model-based UI is probably even more important for 3D than 2D. The ability to exploit the document object model and to assign behaviors.

Boeing’s developers are interested in multiplatform, multiuser applications. The iPad is causing a lot of excitement, but may only be a fad, There are vendors that are looking hard at the opportunities for how to bring a seamless experience for application users that adapt seamlessly to the context. W3C could bring a vendor neutral perspective.

Boeing has a very large number of web developers internally and may be able to contribute to a standards effort. Model-based approaches could help with some kinds of applications.

Fabio: the model-based UI approach is aimed at the service front end, other methodologies are aimed at the back-end.

Time for standardization work. We need to think about which concepts are ready for standardization. We need to examine the various approaches in academia and to see which things are in common. There are more mobile devices than PCs and we need to think about models at authoring time and those at run-time. Gerrit is a project manager for the automotive domain with a number of European partners. We could have some generic models and some domain specific ones. OEM XML is used by Volkswagen for entertainment (head units). OEMs for cars could be important customers for model-based UI.

Abstract Events

Dave gives a brief introduction to WAI ARIA.

Fabio projects the proposal by Apple on User Interface Independence Events aimed at assistive technology. This includes UI change request events which for example convey undo, redo, cancel and delete action and used by the UA or assistive technology (AT) to inform the web application of an action.

Serenoa is looking at dynamic adaptation of the user interface.

Dave provides a pointer to the new W3C Events Working Group which is likely to pick this up along with events for touch/tablet devices.

This could involve higher level events. Serenoa could contribute a proposal to W3C as the work proceeds.

Gerrit: adaptation could be driven by the position of the user, e.g. sensing how far the user is from a display. We are involved in another EU project with related interests. We are interested in personas as a basis for adapting to personal preferences.

Candidates for Standardization

What scope, specific work items and timeline?

Dave asks Fabio to lead the discussion on meta-models for Model-Based UI as a means to support interface between different authoring platforms.

Domain and Task Models


Fabio briefly introduces the CTT notation for hierarchical models of user tasks which describe sequential relationships between the tasks. Notations for data models

A variety of existing notations are available for domain data models. This would be out of scope for the W3C work.

Abstract and Concrete UI

There are a number of notations we should examine for the Abstract and Concrete UI, e.g. UCL’s UsiXML which also applies at several different levels of the Cameleon Reference model. Are any of UCL’s industrial partners ready to commit to participating in the standardization process?

Gerrit: some German companies are productizing model-based authoring tools but are maybe not yet interested in basing them on standards. They consider their techniques to be their own intellectual property, but the market isn’t yet to the point where customers are demanding standards and cross vendor interoperability.

Fabio: what about standards for meta-models? Gerrit: perhaps along with domain specific extensions. Francois agrees. Meta-models abstract away from the specific details of proprietary authoring solutions.

Fabio shows a quick demo of the Maria nomadic user interface framework which provides support for adapting user interfaces as a user migrates from one device to another, e.g. a tablet to a phone. Dave asks what specifically would be contributed for standardization. Fabio: meta-models for the abstract UI.

Francois has to leave shortly. Dave asks him if Francois thinks it is now timely to start work on a standard for meta-models for the abstract UI. Francois answers yes and says UCL would be willing to make formal contribution and to participate in a resulting working group.


Dave to create a mailing list and wiki for an informal interest group and to invite the people from this meeting to join. Fabio agrees to chair with Dave helping with the administrative aspects.

The list and wiki would be used to develop a concrete charter for work on meta-models for tasks, and for the abstract UI level of the Cameleon Reference framework, and potentially at the concrete UI level as well, after a study of existing languages, and a consideration of what is missing in existing standards.

The charter would need to clarify the relationship between declarative models and procedural or rule based models. Graph transformations can be used to map between different levels in the Cameleon framework.

Francois: UCL would be able to make contributions on meta-modals for the task, abstract and concrete levels of the Cameleon framework.

Fabio: to look into whether CNR-ISTI is willing to contribute CTT to the standards process. MARIA language can contributed to the abstract and concrete languages and meta-models..

Gerrit: DFKI is ready to contribute UseML (task modeling) and DISL (abstract UI model).

Patrik: ENSMA should be able to make a contribution for task models (KMAD).

Javier: Telefonica has contributed IDEAL2 to UsiXML for the concrete UI level.

How long do we expect to develop a draft charter by the end of February 2011.

Links to relevant work

Also of interest: