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Web Modelling Languages: the gap between requirements and current exemplars

Alice Gu, University of Technology, Sydney. Email:

Brian Henderson-Sellers, Faculty of IT, University of Technology, Sydney, Email:

David Lowe, Faculty of Engineering, University of Technology, Sydney, Email:


Web, Modelling, Languages, Requirements, Abstraction, Architecture, Limitations, Information Architecture, Functional Architecture.


For the development of Web systems to be effective, we need to consider two aspects of technical architecture: the information architecture and the functional architecture. Web modelling languages, used in the development of these systems need to be able to capture and communicate both these aspects. Specifically, a WML must provide sophisticated functions to facilitate the understanding, specification, documentation, visualisation, communication and construction of important architectural, detailed design and implementation decisions. In this paper, we identify the requirements for WMLs for these elements and, using this proposed requirements framework, evaluate six of the leading WMLs. We conclude that a number of gaps exist in existing modelling approaches, particular with regard to the level of support for modelling of: the link between information and functional designs, primarily at the architectural level; abstractions, particularly with regard to linking detailed information designs to information architectures; and the connections between business models and the system designs.

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AusWeb 2002, AusWeb 2002, The Eighth Australian World Wide Web Conference, held in Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast, Queensland from July 6-10, 2002. Contact: Norsearch Conference Services +61 2 66 20 3932 (from outside Australia) (02) 6620 3932 (from inside Australia) Fax (02) 6622 1954