On the Design and Implementation of Interactive XML Applications

On the Design and Implementation of Interactive XML Applications

Jeff Brown (University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA), Rebecca Brown (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, USA), Chris Velado (University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA) and Ron Vetter (University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3898-3.ch002
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This paper describes issues and challenges in the design and implementation of interactive client-server applications where program logic is expressed in terms of an extensible markup language (XML) document. Although the technique was originally developed for creating interactive short message service (SMS) applications, it has expanded and is used for developing interactive web applications. XML-Interactive (or XML-I) defines the program states and corresponding actions. Because many interactive applications require sustained communication between the client and the underlying information service, XML-I has support for session management. This allows state information to be managed in a dynamic way. The paper describes several applications that are implemented using XML-I and discusses design issues. The software framework has been implemented in a Java environment.
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What Is Xml-I

XML Interactive is a specification, in XML format, of a software application. Thus, XML-I can be used for both the conceptual and the actual design of interactive SMS and web applications. The software framework of XML-I contains properties that can be easily implemented by simple programs in a web server environment, using Java’s application programming interface (API). By establishing XML-I in a multi-tier architecture, web services can be extended to create complex client-server conversations based on the input received from a mobile originated (MO) SMS message or more traditional web (HTTP) request.

Before the introduction of XML-I, many interactive SMS services were implemented by responding to a single and specific keyword contained in the MO message. The SMS applications would generate mobile terminated (MT) messages based upon the specific keyword received. With XML-I, users are able to carry out multifaceted conversations with the underlying information service without the need to specify a keyword for each client-server interaction. For example, a user might navigate through several menu options (responding via SMS messages) in order to request more specific information from a large data set.

Just as standard XML is based on tree structures, XML-I code contains specific nodes and attributes that control the navigation within the XML along with key commands to enable client interaction. When a user sends a message, the content within that message determines the new “state” of the application. Moving to a new state will determine what actions will take place. Basic functionality such as switching state or terminating conversations is also part of this system. Changing an existing application is easy – one simply updates the states and actions in the XML document.

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