Systematic Hypermedia Application Design with OOHDM

Daniel Schwabe (

Gustavo Rossi (

Simone D. J. Barbosa (

Dept. of Informatics, PUC-Rio
R. M. de S. Vicente, 225
Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22453-900, BRAZIL
Ph: +55-21-529 9544

Gustavo Rossi
also LIFIA, F. Cs. Exactas-UNLP, and CONICET, Argentina.


In this paper we analyze the process of hypermedia applications design and implementation, focusing in particular on two critical aspects of these applications: the navigational and interface structure. We discuss the way in which we build the navigation and abstract interface models using the Object-Oriented Hypermedia Design Method (OOHDM); we show which concerns must be taken into account for each task by giving examples from a real project we are developing, the Portinari Project. We show which implementation concerns must be considered when defining interface behavior, discussing both a Toolbook and a HTML implementation of the example application.


Hypermedia Design, Methodology, Modeling, Object Orientation, Navigation, Interfaces

Table of Contents


In the past three years there has been growing interest in hypermedia design approaches [15, 9, 18]. There are many different problems the hypermedia designer has to deal with, since the combination of navigation through an intricate information space with the unstructured and dynamic nature of multimedia data poses new and complex problems that must be solved in a systematic and modular way (see for example [13]). Each design activity in a design methodology should address different concerns at the proper stage and at the proper level of abstraction [22], and design decisions should be recorded and traced backward and forward in the development process.

In this paper we argue that using the Object-Oriented Hypermedia Design Methodology (OOHDM) [28,30, 31, 24], we can solve these problems while maintaining the "exploratory" nature of the hypermedia paradigm. The main contribution of OOHDM is the way it structures the design process; object orientation comes in as a convenient and concise language in which to specify the several models used in the method. There are a number of benefits in using an object oriented approach, but this will not be elaborated in this paper. The structure of this paper is as follows: we first present an example of an application that has been developed using OOHDM, and implemented in both HTML and Toolbook. We then present the OOHDM design process, stressing which design concerns are taken into account in each activity and which modeling and abstraction mechanisms are used during each step in the development cycle, using the example for illustrating the various concepts. Next, we make a few remarks about the main points of OOHDM. Finally we compare our method with others in the hypermedia field and indicate some further work in hypermedia design. The phenomenal growth of the WWW has spurred the creation of a large number of home-pages and web sites. Since HTML documents are intrinsically hypertext, we are witnessing the creation of a huge number of hyperdocuments, being made available through the WWW. Of these, we focus on collections of interconnected hyperdocuments under the same management which we call a site.

Intro | Example | OOHDM | Discussion | Conclusion | Refs | previous | next