Sunday, November 9, 2008

Moved to a New Lab

SAP Research CEC Dresden

In November 2008, I left the DSS group and joined SAP Research to work at the Campus-based Engineering Center in Dresden. If you want to contact me, please use my TU Chemnitz email address which remains valid.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The problem with URIs

The SmartInput control

... is that they are extremely useful to pin down the meaning of something for a machine, but they are not easy to handle for a human user. Unless you have the right Web Engineering tools :-). Today, I wrote a component that assists users in entering meaningful values (URIs) by offering autocomplete to a list of given choices. The choices originate from a configured Linked Data source, like a SPARQL endpoint or a DataGridService.

Friday, August 8, 2008

News from WAM

WebComposition Architecture Model

The WebComposition Architecture Model finally has a homepage: (Thanks to Andreas Heil's initiative). The page summarizes project-relevant links, papers, examples, downloadable hands-on material and a demo for future reference. Currently, one of our student projects applies WAM in an interesting domain: visualizing security architectures in the context of IP telephony.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

PhD thesis submitted

After a long phase of reviewing and reworking, I officially submitted my PhD thesis yesterday. Following now will be the process of the faculty for Informatics, which includes expert reports, an examination and the defense. This also marks the end of my time at VSR, as I will leave the group at the end of September.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Underwater Laboratory

the aftermath

Earlier this week, we had to discover that a part of the ceiling had collapsed in the student laboratory next to our room and that water was dripping on our hardware. Luckily, there was nobody in the room when it happened, so no casualties except a keyboard. The cause of the accident was a leak in the air conditioning system, which apparently seems to happen here once in a while.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer Semester 2008 – Lessons Learned

EDU activities
Today marks the end of another lecture period at Chemnitz University. The joined seminar / pro-seminar on Semantic Web turned out to be quite a challenge for the participating students. It is interesting to see how the Semantic Web, after being around for about 10 years, is still confusing newcomers. Lessons learned from the improved feedback marks of the lecture-related tutorial on protocols of distributed systems (6.4/7 points): students love to actually see and experience the technologies mentioned on the slides in demos and exercises.

Friday, July 11, 2008

ICWE 2008

ICWE 2008

Next week, the Eighth International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE2008) will be held in Yorktown Heights, New York, USA. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend this year, after having visited all conferences of the last four years (Munich, Sydney, Palo Alto, Como). However, some of the tools we have been building recently will be used, like the idFS-enabled Wiki for the car sharing site and the WebComposition/DGS for managing a list of the published papers.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Site updates


The reengineering of our homepage is advancing. Recently, we have setup a publicly readable version of the Data Grid Service at our VSR-DATA site to publish the content in multiple machine-readable formats. A new list has been added for student research projects, forming the base for future tools to manage the advising process. On my own homepage, I have added a Links section from

Friday, May 23, 2008

Generation W

tomorrows students
Chemnitz University of Technology and the Computer science faculty are currently conducting a number of programs to attract more pupils from schools. Yesterday, I was giving a lecture on Web internals to a group of 10th grade students. All born after the invention of the Web, they have been growing up with it and already knew a lot. Most of them had experience in writing their own Web sites, many of them had also programmed Web applications.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

idFS Homepage online

The idFS homepage is now online. The site offers a downloadable version of idFS, current idFS-related news, documentation and related papers. Moreover, there is an online demo available that illustrates, how federated single sign on can be achieved through browser redirects.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Site updates


After the recent visual changes, the VSR web site is now becoming a) "more English" and b) "more semantic". During the next weeks, we plan to translate most of the up-front pages to reflect the international orientation of our research. Yesterday, I extended the publication list with an RDF view, linking papers with our FOAF files. Furthermore, we have added a new DGS list for projects.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The new (old) design

Chemnitz University of Technology

As the eye of the careful observer might have noticed, Chemnitz University has switched to a new Web design, which is slightly more pastel-greenish than the old one. The real progress is however even more subtle: the style template is now proper XHTML, i.e. much more friendly for machine-readable markup (microformats, RDFa etc). I still remember the hassle with the last version of my homepage when I manually adjusted a copy of the PHP template.

Friday, April 25, 2008

UDDI over SOAP over HTTP over TCP over IP over Ethernet over SOAP over ...

PVS sample code
The first exercise session of the lecture on protocols for distributed systems starts today. During the last few weeks, I have written a lot of sample programs that partially implement or use most of the covered protocols on top of TCP sockets. Apart from some unpleasant experiences with COM, it was good fun, largely due to the simplicity of the technologies. The exercise later in the semester will also feature some of our own research products.

Friday, April 18, 2008

DGS List Manager complete

Web Forms with InfoPath

The first version of the DGS List Manager is now complete and in productive use for the VSR homepage. The programs serves as a front-end to the Data Grid Service (DGS), a Web-service for creating and managing lists of aribtrary XML content in an ad-hoc fashion via an easy to consume interface.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

PhD Talk

Yesterday, I held a presentation on my PhD area of research at an internal group meeting. While it was quite challenging to pack the most important things in 30 minutes, I got some valuable feedback for further improvements of the talk. As the thesis itself is currently under my supervisor’s review, I’m now more occupied with the upcoming semster than with my PhD.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Web forms for arbitrary XML content

Web Forms with InfoPath

Last week, we looked at an easy way to generate online forms for editing arbitrary data (i.e., XML defined by an XML schema). With the help of an MSDN article, the InfoPath application and a lot of patience, we finally managed to get a generic data managing application online that can be extended with new forms semi-automatically generated from XML schemas. It is not particularly efficient in the browser, but it saves the headache of having to develop the form manually.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Preparations for the new Semester

EDU activities
The lecture period of the summer semester starts in 4 weeks. This time, I’ll be conducting a joined seminar / pro-seminar on Semantic Web, and a lecture-related tutorial on protocols of distributed systems. Following the feedback from last semester, the next tutorial will contain a lot of practical, hands-on exercises which I am currently preparing. The registration form for the seminar is now available online at the TUC registration service.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

WAM Architecture Manager

Distributed System Architecture Browser

During the last few days, I started working on a new tool to keep track all the applications and services we have deployed. The WAM architecture manager can be used to manage a distributed architecture of Web applications, Web services and Federation infrastructure services, based on the WebComposition Architecture Model (WAM). Its public functionality of the browser can be seen online, while logged in administrators can also register new components or modify existing entries.

Friday, February 29, 2008

More invisible site changes

Web Services

As I started building this personal homepage last year, I used a lot of XML and XSLT to provide its content in a manageable way. The XML is transformed on the server site, which is why this internal site structure cannot be seen from the outside. As one step further, the content (e.g. the publication list) now comes from a data-managing Web service, which my colleague Andreas Heil is working on. One of many advantages here is that gradually, we will be able to reuse our content in more places across the whole VSR site.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Application integration

screwturn wiki

This week, I evaluated some open source wiki and blog engines based on ASP.NET in combination with idFS. I turned out that idFS is pretty straightforward to integrate with existing code, especially in cases where the application already makes use of the standard ASP.NET mechanisms for application security. In some cases, it was even possible to link the applications built-in roles with idFS roles without touching the code. I finally chose screwturn wiki and, which will be used for supplying a blog and a wiki for the ISWE site.

Friday, February 15, 2008

ICWE Paper Deadline extended

Web Engineering: Modelling and Implementing Web Applications

The deadline for this year’s ICWE conference is approaching. It has been extended to February 22, 2008. The Eighth International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE2008) will be held in July 2008 in Yorktown Heights, New York, USA. ICWE2008 aims at promoting research and scientific excellence on Web Engineering and at bringing together practitioners, scientists, and researchers interested in technologies, methodologies, tools, and techniques used to develop and maintain Web-based applications.

Friday, February 8, 2008

idFS Version 2.3

idFS Version 2.3 is complete and available for download. It includes some minor fixes and is adjusted to .NET 3.5 / Visual Studio 2008. In addition, I have installed updated online demo on a public web server. The case study in the Web Engineering practical course worked out well. All groups were able to integrate their application, although one group needed some help for configuring advanced features.

Friday, February 1, 2008

End of lecture period in Chemnitz

EDU activities
After 15 weeks of teaching, it’s the end of the lecture period in Chemnitz, and I’m staring into another golden period of two month of quality research time. The results from this semester’s student feedback reviews were good, but improvable. The students in the practical course rated the interestingness of their project with 5.75 / 7, generally stating that they would prefer a longer project phase and shorter exercise phase. The students in the lecture-related tutorial gave an average of 5 / 7 points, with several requests for more practical, programming-related exercises and less reading homework.

Friday, January 25, 2008

ISWE Site Developments

The ISWE site is currently undergoing redevelopment behind the scenes, as we add new management features. We switched over to .NET 3.5 to take advantage of the improved XML handling capabilities (LINQ), which has already proven to be quite useful. idFS is now also used to manage activity memberships by integrating its Identity Management Web services directly into the main application. This will hopefully give us some insights with respect to possible new idFS features.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New toys

Finally, after several delays and smashed hopes, our new laptops have arrived. Slightly bigger than my old one, but also much more powerful. The battery looks like a close assault weapon and will hopefully not cause too much trouble at the airport.

Friday, January 11, 2008

idFS on .NET 3.5

idFS is compatible with the .NET Framework 3.5. Although the latest version of the framework is additive, this was not self-evident, as some aspects of idFS depend on rather deep, technical layers. This week, I upgraded it using Visual Studio 2008. Meanwhile, we are now using idFS within the project phase of this semester’s practical course on Web Engineering.