A Semantic Description Language for Platform-Independent Graphical User Interfaces

Diploma thesis by Christoph Pfisterer


Graphical user interface toolkits exhibit striking similarities in functionality and visual appearance. Yet, each one demands adherence to its proprietary implementation interface from the application developer. Platform-independent solutions exist, but their perceived drawbacks hinder large-scale adaption.

This thesis provides a new perspective by complementing platform abstraction with other benefits found in some toolkits today. Network transparency and programming language abstraction are gained through the use of a remote protocol. An XML-based description language reduces coding effort and enables interactive dialog editors. The language is taken to a higher level by including elements to denote the behavior of the interface in addition to its structure.

Existing solutions are examined to provide an overview of useful features, but also to learn about shortcomings. Based on this examination, the architecture of the new system is then designed. The viability of the approach is demonstrated by a prototype implementation. It is based on the Qt toolkit and BEEP, a network protocol framework.

Nov 26, 2002 Copyright © 2002-2011 Christoph Pfisterer