Section: Research Program

Design of advanced (robust, flexible, rich, novel) web applications

The generalized use of mobile terminals deeply affects the way users perceive and interact with their environment. The ubiquitous use of search engines capable of producing results in fractions of a second raised user expectations to a very high level: users now expect relevant information to be made available to them instantly and directly by context sensitivity to the environment itself. However, the information that needs to be processed is becoming more and more complex compared to the traditional web. In order to unlock the potential introduced by this new generation of the web, a radical rethinking of how web information is produced, organized and processed is necessary.

Until now, content rendering on the web was mainly based on supporting media formats separately. It is still notably the case in HTML5 for example where, for instance, vector graphics, mathematical content, audio and video are supported only as isolated media types. With the increasing use of web content in mobile terminals, we also need to take into account highly dynamic information flowing from sensors (positioning and orientation moves) and cameras. To reach that goal, web development platforms need to ease the manipulation of such content with carefully designed programming interfaces and by developing supporting integrative methods.

More precisely, we will focus on the following aspects: (1) Build Rich content models. This requires combining in a single model several content facets such as 3D elements, animations, user interactions, etc. We will focus on feature-compositional methods, which have become a prerequisite for the production of compelling web applications. (2) Physical environment modeling and integration. This consists of modeling and representing urban data such as buildings, pathways, points of interest. It requires developing appropriate languages and techniques to represent, process and query such environment models. In particular, we will focus on tracking positional user information and design techniques capable of combining semantic annotations, content, and representation of the physical world. (3) Native streams support. This consists of capturing new data flows extracted from various sensors in mobile terminals and various equipments. (4) Cross-platform abstractions. We will contribute to the design of appropriate abstractions to make applications run in a uniform way across various devices and environments. Our goal is to provide a viable alternative to current (platform-specific) mobile application development practices.