Managing user interface pattern collections : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Computer Science at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
The research presented in this thesis describes the development of a comprehensive UI pattern management tool, MUIP, to support researchers and UI designers manipulate and explore a repository of UI pattern collections. The concept of patterns originated from Alexander's pattern language for the architecture domain. Later, the software development and HCI communities adopted the pattern concept. Many disparate UI pattern collections have been developed and published using various media, such as books, internet, etc. Various pattern formats were used in these collections. In 2003, to cope with this problem, a group of HCI researchers developed a standardised pattern form, called PLML. Researchers have authored patterns, investigated the characteristics of pattern collections and also identified many of the functions required to manage pattern collections. A framework for MUIP has been developed in the light of the analysis of the relevant literature and a survey of existing pattern tools. The framework supports the following features: pattern authoring, manipulating forces, browsing patterns, searching patterns, versioning and customising patterns, relating patterns, manipulating collections and importing or exporting patterns. Patterns are described using the standard pattern form (PLML). An enhanced version of PLML, called PLML vl.2, has been developed so that pattern contents can be organised more effectively. Based on this framework, a specification of a comprehensive pattern management system for manipulating pattern collections was developed and a prototype implemented accordingly. A formal evaluation confirmed the usefulness of the prototype.