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Near real-time collaborative modeling for view-based Web information systems engineering

: Nicolaescu, P.; Rosenstengel, M.; Derntl, M.; Klamma, R.; Jarke, M.


Information systems 74 (2018), Part 1, pp.23-39
ISSN: 0306-4379
ISSN: 0094-453X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer FIT ()

Conceptual modeling is a creative, social process driven by the views of stakeholders. In modern, agile development – especially for continuously evolving Web applications – contributions from a wide variety of geographically distributed stakeholders, their involvement in negotiation and impact analysis from different perspectives and the rapid prototype generation from specifications gain much importance. Moreover, people have come to expect easy near real-time system support with few restrictions. While conceptual modeling or CSCW environments exist for each of these individual aspects, their interplay has barely been studied. This paper presents a collaborative conceptual modeling approach called SyncMeta that aims to close this gap by supporting view-based modeling in the Web browser in a near real-time shared editing environment1. In addition to domain-specific graphical modeling languages, viewpoints can be collaboratively defined on the meta-modeling layer and instantiated as views within a model editor instance. Besides this formal structure, we also discuss the choice of algorithms for locking-free shared model editing and of highly scalable team size. In addition to this kind of technical evaluation, the paper also presents several medium-scale user studies that have accompanied the iterative SyncMeta development. These studies investigated both the requirements (quality advantages and user acceptance of the view-based approach, near real-time support) and important design options such as centralized vs. peer-to-peer viewpoint resolution. A fully functional SyncMeta software framework which incorporates most of these results, is available in the GitHub open source repository. We expect this line of work to pave the way for methodologies and tools for socially engineered Web information systems.