The Eighth ACM International Hypertext Conference

Southampton, UK
April 6-11, 1997


Title: Hypermedia Engineering:

Processes for developing large hypermedia systems

Instructors: Dr. David Lowe, A/Prof Athula Ginige

University of Technology, Sydney




The objectives of the course are:

(1) To engender an awareness of the need for a more disciplined approach to the development of hypermedia. Hypermedia development needs to move from the current largely ad hoc approach to development to a more disciplined approach. The course shows why an ad hoc approach can lead to overly-expensive applications which do not deliver the expected performance or quality. In this course we develop an awareness of these problems and an understanding of the implications if they are not effectively addressed.

(2) To provide a resource which can lead to significantly improved development. In many respects this is the real core objective of the course - to provide mechanisms and understanding which can be utilised in improving current development practice. The course aims to provide both an understanding as well as practical guidelines which will lead to these improvements. It is worthwhile noting that the course is not a 'how-to' guide for any particular tool, package, authoring environment, or platform, rather a general 'what-to' guide for hypermedia development. In other words, this course looks at what aspects need to considered during the development process and how this can be achieved. It looks at what the issues are which affect decisions made. It looks at what we can do to substantially improve our current practice.

  1. To demonstrate how the field is likely to evolve over the next five years. Finally, we recognise that the hypermedia field is evolving very rapidly. What is best practice now is likely to be outdated and uncompetitive within a very short span of time (certainly within a few years). In this course we consider possible future trends and aim to develop an understanding of how hypermedia development is likely to evolve within the foreseeable future.


The course is separated into three parts. In the first part of the course (the whole morning session) we consider hypermedia development concepts and theory. In particular we look at the goals of hypermedia and then consider what are the implications of these goals for the development process. We look at the types of activities which are covered by a development process and the issues which need to be addressed during the development process. We look at both product issues (such as how the process can be designed to take into account product usage patterns)and process issues (such as what can be done to facilitate management of the process).

In the second part of the course (first half of the afternoon) we provide a series of specific tips, hints, guidelines and recommendations which can be used to improve current practices and move towards a best-practice development process.

In the final part of the course (the second half of the afternoon) we will look at a number of research and development projects which are likely to impact on the ways in which development is carried out in the future. This will provide a mechanism for considering how we can continue to refine our development practices.


The course is aimed at anyone who is involved in any of the broad range of development activities within hypermedia development. This includes anyone involved in title development, media capture or creation, user interface development, application analysts and designers, information experts, Web masters and managers, content experts, and project or systems managers. In all of these cases, an appreciation of the role of specific activities within the overall development process would be of significant benefit. The course would also be of significant benefit to anyone looking at commencing a hypermedia development project, or those managing such projects. The course will help develop an understanding of how the development process can most effectively be carried out.

This course should be also be of interest to both researchers and practitioners. For researchers it will raise issues of importance, show current trends, and provide an overview of the areas which are still open research questions. For practitioners, it will demonstrate current approaches to development and how this practice can be most profitably improved and applied.

It is assumed that the course participant is familiar with at least the fundamentals of hypermedia and multimedia development and has had some experience in developing hypermedia.


Dr. David Lowe holds a B.E. (1st class hons, Univ. medal), a PhD (in image processing applied to hypermedia) and a Grad. Cert. in Higher Education. He is currently the co-director of COTAR (Centre for Object Technology, Applications and Research) and a Senior Lecturer in Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Technology. Within the last five years he has also spent a year as a visiting scholar at Cambridge University and half a year as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton.

David is a very successful researcher in the field of multimedia and hypermedia. His research interests cover hypermedia processes and process modeling, information modeling, and approaches to authoring, especially for large complex systems. He has published widely and attracted considerable research funding. He is currently co-authoring a textbook on Hypermedia (tentatively called "Hypermedia Engineering: The Web and Beyond").

He is also the Co-Director of COTAR (Centre for Object Technology, Applications, and Research) - a joint university-industry centre focused on OO research/development and technology transfer between Universities and industry. The centre currently has participation from 8 universities and many industrial partners. David's teaching experience is also excellent. He has wide experience in teaching both software development (especially development process) and hypermedia development at a variety of levels from undergraduate to professional short courses. He is the co-developer of a Masters course explicitly focusing on hypermedia development and has developed and taught numerous industry focused courses.

Associate Professor Athula Ginige holds a bachelor of engineering (University of Morotuwa, 1st class hons) and a PhD (University of Cambridge). Athula is an established researcher. In the last5 years he has received nearly Aus$1million in research funding. He is the author or a co-author of over 50 refereed conference and Journal publications. Athula has also supervised numerous PhD students.

Athula is the director of the Information Systems Engineering program which offers a Masters course which focuses on large scale hypermedia systems development. He is responsible for developing or co-developing most of the material for the course. He has also taught numerous professional short courses on hypermedia, the Web and hypermedia development.

He is a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society, Member of IEEE and ACM and an Associate Member of IEE. He was the president of the Australian Pattern Recognition Society during 1994/5. He also plays an active role in MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group) and MHEG (Multimedia and Hypermedia Expert Group)National and International Standardization Committees. He is also on the editorial board of the IEEE Multimedia Magazine.

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