BOX: Browsing Objects in XML

Christian Nentwich, Wolfgang Emmerich*, Anthony Finkelstein* and Andrea Zisman
Dept. of Computer Science,
University College London
Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
{c.nentwich|w.emmerich|a.finkelstein|a.zisman} at


The latest Internet markup languages support the representation of structured information and vector graphics. In this paper we describe how these languages can be used to publish software engineering diagrams on the Internet. We do so by describing BOX, a portable, distributed and interoperable approach to browsing UML models with off-the-shelf browser technology. Our ap-proach to browsing UML models leverages XML and related specifications, such as the Document Object Model (DOM), the XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) and a Vector Graphic Markup Lan-guage (VML). BOX translates a UML model that is represented in XMI into VML. VML can be directly displayed in Internet browsers, such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5. BOX enables soft-ware engineers to access, review and browse UML models without the need to purchase licenses of tools that produced the models. BOX has been successfully evaluated in two industrial case studies. The case studies used BOX to make extensive domain and enterprise object models avail-able to a large number of stakeholders over a corporate intranets and the Internet. We discuss why XML and the BOX architecture can be applied to other software engineering notations. We also argue that the approach taken in BOX can be applied to other domains that already started to adopt XML and have a need for graphic representation of XML information. These include browsing gene sequences, chemical molecule structures and conceptual knowledge representations.

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Updated on: 13/10/99
Wolfgang Emmerich