We are taking advantage of Yogesh Deshpande's presence at SLAC to provide a four-hour seminar on web engineering with applications to the BaBar web. The full announcement is below. A summary of the results from the recent Babar web survey will be included (if you haven't yet participated, it's at /BFROOT/www/doc/WebSurvey/survey.htm). All interested parties are invited to attend. Thanks. —Ray, BaBar webmaster
Yogesh Deshpande University of Western Sydney, Australia
30 April 2003, ROB Redwood A & B
10 am – 12 noon, 1 pm – 3 pm
Lunch is provided
When things — tools, systems — work according to our expectations, they are taken for granted. The trouble starts when they don't. Standardisation and engineering approaches moderate our expectations and hold the promise of good performance. However, standards are not universal or timeless. We look for those closest to our way of working and thinking. In addition, a community of users, collaborative or otherwise, exhibits a range of expectations that are not always in harmony. The World Wide Web in general and the BaBar Web in particular are good examples of how users bring different expectations when using them. "Not intuitive", "too difficult to find anything useful" or "why do we have to do things this way?" are questions frequently heard when discussing the users' experience of the Web. When standards change or are absent, as happens with new developments or technologies, frustrations rise, perhaps non-linearly.
The Web by nature involves and affects a diverse set of people. The Web environment is also dynamic. There is an unending procession of new technologies. Tools to use these technologies easily and productively lag behind, and techniques and more systematic methods are rudimentary or absent. The users mostly treat the Web environment as something that makes or should make their work easy. For them, the Web is a means to an end, not an end in itself. For the members of the BaBar Web community, the ends are defined by their need for information dissemination — producing information about their work that their collaborators will use, and accessing whatever information is needed to carry on with their work.
On the other hand, for Web application developers, the Web environment itself is both a medium and an end. Their outlook, while user-centred, is also tempered by the available tools and techniques, and constrained by the procedures and policies in the workplace. There are times when they have to improvise and learn from mistakes.
Web Engineering is a developing field of study that focuses on all the issues affecting Web development in an organization. The current review of the BaBar Web was initiated to apply the accumulated understanding of Web Engineering to formulate possible recommendations that will help its future growth.
This half-day seminar will report both on Web Engineering and the current review and elicit the audience's views and experiences.
The outline of the seminar is given below. N.B. While this seminar will cover Web Engineering in general, it will include examples from the BaBar Web and a summary of the findings of the current review. Please feel free to communicate with Yogesh (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like any particular topic in Web development to be addressed.
Order of presentation