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senseGUI - a Declarative Way of Generating Graphical User Interfaces

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Presented on the Third International Conference on Software and Data Technologies (ICSOFT 2008). Volume PL/DPS/KE, Porto, Portugal, July 5-8, 2008. INSTICC Press 2008, ISBN 978-989-8111-51-7. pp. 71-76.

Abstract

A declarative way of creating GUIs is also known as model-based generation. Most of existing solutions require dedicated tools and quite complicated knowledge from the programmer. They also use special languages. In contrast, we propose a method which utilizes annotations existing in present programming languages. The method greatly improves generating common GUIs for popular languages. Annotations allow the programmer for marking particular parts of a source code defining class structures. Using such simple annotations, the programmer can describe basic properties of the desired GUI. In the simplest form it is enough just to mark attributes (or methods) for which widgets should be created. There is also a way to define more detailed description including labels, the order of items, different widgets for particular data items, etc. Using a generated form, the application user can create, edit and see instances of data objects. Our research is supported by a working prototype library called senseGUI (Java).