Date of Award

Summer 1992

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

Committee Director

Stewart N. T. Shen

Committee Member

Gene Hou

Committee Member

James L. Schwing

Committee Member

Hussein Abdel-Wahab


As computer technology evolves, graphic workstations are becoming more popular. They support more friendly user interfaces than do conventional terminals. The better user interfaces require more effort to develop. Therefore, many user interface (UI) design systems have been developed to facilitate the creation of modern user interfaces, but not very successfully. Many of them either provide limited features or are difficult to use. Besides, these UI design systems are actually like black boxes to their users because the underlying technology is opaque; their users cannot learn how to utilize the underlying window systems through user interface design sessions. In a sense, these systems inherently prevent the users from updating or modifying them according to their specific needs.

To solve the deficiencies, a new design methodology has been invented, which is composed of three major components: visual graphic knowledge representation, automatic knowledge reuse, and automatic knowledge retrieval. In the visual graphic knowledge representation, the knowledge engineers apply the visual graphic knowledge base technology (67) (68) to preserve the domain knowledge in a set of hierarchical visual knowledge graphs, e.g. the visual graphic knowledge base.

These graphs later provide knowledge base users (application designers) the dynamic visual guidance, corresponding to the progress of the design process, in the automatic knowledge reuse session. In addition to the dynamic visual guidance, the knowledge reuse process is facilitated by automatically assembling the preserved knowledge fetched from the visual graphic knowledge base. The result of the knowledge reuse is inherently represented by objects and links, which form a visual specification graph in contrast to the visual knowledge graph. This visual specification graph can be manually organized into a set of hierarchical visual specification graphs. The knowledge base users can further adapt the original knowledge base to meet the individual needs after they become familiar with the underlying window through using the knowledge base.

Afterwards, the automatic knowledge retrieval is applied to automate the composition of the source code which is also retrieved from the visual graphic knowledge base. The knowledge base user then can compile and run the composed source code to yield an interactive interface.


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