JWE Abstracts 

Vol.5 No.3 September 1, 2006  

Editorial (pp201-202)
        S. Christodoulou   

Research articles: 
A Discussion of the Role of User Trails in Web Applications (pp203-215)
        E. Gams and S. Reich  
Designing, implementing and maintaining Web applications is a challenging task. Moreover, driven by some of the characteristics of Web applications, such as multiculturalism, continuous change, fast pace and competitiveness, there is an increasing need to use mechanisms that automatically adapt Web applications to new environments.  Trails, built from information about the users' browsing paths and activities, are an established approach to assist users in navigating vast information spaces and finding appropriate information. In this article we investigate how Web applications can profit from the integration of the concept of user trails --- implemented as navigation pattern --- in the Web modelling process. Furthermore, we investigate how trails can be applied to the various categories of Web applications. The results of our research show that trails are particularly suitable for those Web applications which exhibit a high degree of user interaction.

An Engineering Perspective on Structural Computing: Developing Structure Services for the Web(pp216-245)
        M. Vaitis, M. Tzagarakis, and G. Gkotsis   
The emergence of Component-Based Open Hypermedia Systems aims at releasing hypermedia and web applications from the monocracy of link as an information structuring primitive. Instead, an open set of structure servers – each one providing abstractions and semantics relevant to a specific data-organization domain – are employed by an open set of client applications. Nonetheless, the lack of an engineering framework guiding the development and deployment process of structure servers has a part in their limited exploitation. In this paper, we analyze the characteristics of structure servers from an engineering approach, and we propose a software methodology and a set of potential tools in order to direct their development. In addition, we present how this methodology is supported by the Callimachus CB-OHS, emphasizing on the tools enabling rapid prototyping of new structure servers.

On Cultural Differences in Local Web Interfaces (pp246-264)
        O. De Troyer, A. Mushtaha, H. Stengers, M. Baetens, F. Boers, S. Casteleyn, and P. Plessers
In the light of the existing literature on the issue of cross-cultural interface design, we carried out a small-scale study in order to check whether we could find cultural differences in local web sites. First, the experiment was conducted for university web sites. Our hypotheses with regard to cross-cultural variation were based on the well-known theory of Hofstede [6]. Contrary to Hofstede’s theory and findings, very little evidence of cultural differences in the interfaces of the web sites was reported. Subsequently, an online survey was conducted among webmasters of university web sites in an attempt to provide preliminary explanations for the findings. Because the results of the experiment were inconsistent with other previous research findings, we decided to repeat the experiment for a different type of web sites: newspaper web sites. This experiment confirmed the first results. Although the experiments done were on a small scale and had several limitations, the results already give an indication that Hofstede’s theory may not be applicable as such for web sites. Furthermore, it seems that the Web has developed its own culture, a hybrid cosmopolitan culture overriding traditional cultural differences.

Contemporary Web Service Discovery Mechanisms (pp265-290)
        J. Garofalakis, Y. Panagis, E. Sakkopoulos, and A. Tsakalidis
The introduction of software development via Web Services has been the most significant web engineering paradigm, in the last years. The widely acknowledged importance of the Web Services’ concept lies in the fact that they provide a platform independent answer to the software component development question. Equally important are the mechanisms that allow for Web Service discovery, especially as the latter has turn to an arduous task. This paper critically presents the latest methods, architectures, models and concerns that have arisen in the Web Service Discovery area.

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