Automatic GUI Generation
Research Programme
Bournemouth University, UK. 1999-2001

Overview

Usable software should be the aim of every software designer. Building easy-to-use software with a consistent interface reduces the required training to learn how to use a product and prolongs its usage life significantly.

Software functionality should be presented in a task-oriented manner while its interface, just like football referees, should be transparent and not get in the way of its use. If the software modelled real-world tasks, then users can logically form a mental picture of its functionality without the need for documentation.

The test-bed environment built using C++Builder, is an Integrated Development Environment that enables the application developer to model a given problem domain in an object model, and be able to instantly generate a 'fully navigable' Windows application, using the built-in OOA-to-GUI generation rules. Furthermore, built-in OOA-to-RDBMS generation rules, automatically create the underlying database required to store the application data and make it 'functional'.

These generation rules have been thoroughly tested and validated for data-intensive applications in an BSc final project report. They transparently map abstract/concrete classes, class attributes types and ranges, instance relationships (including many-many), and class relationships (both inheritance and containment (including many-many) into suitable GUI components and database tables and integrity constrains.

All that remain for the application developer to do, is to implement the class methods to deliver a 'fully functional' and 'usable' application that is both task-oriented for easy-to-use, and has a consistent interface throughout, which makes it a truly 'zero-training' software.

Ali Adams
GUI Design Consultant
aliadams@canada.com