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Balagtas-Fernandez, Florence (2011): Easing the Creation Process of Mobile Applications for Non-Technical Users: Model-Driven Development of Mobile Applications. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics
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Abstract

In this day and age, the mobile phone is becoming one of the most indispensable personal computing device. People no longer use it just for communication (i.e. calling, sending messages) but also for other aspects of their lives as well. Because of this rise in demand for different and innovative applications, mobile companies (i.e. mobile handset manufacturers and mobile network providers) and organizations have realized the power of collaborative software development and have changed their business strategy. Instead of hiring specific organizations to do programming, they are now opening up their APIs and tools to allow ordinary people create their own mobile applications either for personal use or for profit. However, the problem with this approach is that there are people who might have nice ideas of their own but do not possess the technical expertise in order to create applications implementing these ideas. The goal of this research is to find ways to simplify the creation of mobile applications for non-technical people by applying model-driven software development particularly domain-specific modeling combined with techniques from the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) particularly iterative, user-centered system design. As proof of concept, we concentrate on the development of applications in the domain of mHealth and use the Android Framework as the target platform for code generation. The iterative user-centered design and development of the front-end tool which is called the Mobia Modeler, led us to eventually create a tool that features a configurable-component based design and integrated modeless environment to simplify the different development tasks of end-users. The Mobia models feature both constructs specialized for specific domains (e.g. sensor component, special component ), and also those that are applicable to any type of domain (e.g. structure component, basic component ). In order to accommodate different needs of end-users, a clear separation between the front-end tools (i.e. Mobia Modeler ) and the underlying code generator (i.e. Mobia Processor ) is recommended as long as there is a consistent model in between, that serves as a bridge between the different tools.