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Improving Rich Internet Applications through Software Refactoring Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ying, Ming
Supervisor and department
Miller, James (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Horspool, Nigel (Department of Computer Science, University of Victoria)
Dick, Scott (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Reformat, Marek (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Karapetrovic, Stanislav (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Software Engineering and Intelligent Systems
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
With the advent of Rich Internet Application (RIA) technologies which are crucial to Web 2.0 sites, Internet user experience has moved from the click-and-wait mode to a richer, faster and more interactive mode. Instead of refreshing the entire web page every time when a user requests a change, only updated information within the web page is modified. This allows RIAs to behave and feel more like desktop applications. Due to the evolving nature of RIAs, many efficiency issues need to be resolved before RIAs can behave like desktop applications. Ensuring the efficiency of RIAs is now an important issue. This is the reason why many web browsers advertise the speed of their JavaScript engines as one of the key features. Additionally, web application performance issues can affect corporate revenues because with every 1-second delay, customer satisfaction decreases . Two of the most popular RIA technologies are Adobe Flash and Ajax, and the efficiency of RIAs using both of these technologies can be improved. This dissertation introduces refactoring as a method to improve the efficiency of applications built using these platforms. Programmers using the techniques and tools introduced in this dissertation can greatly improve the efficiency and user experience of their applications. More specifically, the thesis introduces four techniques and tools. • A refactoring tool called ActionScript Refactoring Tool (ART) is introduced to improve the efficiency of Flash applications by rewriting ActionScript 3.0 code. • To aid programmers embed Flash programs effectively, a refactoring tool called FlashembedRT is introduced. This tool can refactor five popular markup-based Flash embedding methods to a JavaScript-based Flash embedding method called flashembed. • A refactoring approach to aid programmers transform their XML data structures into JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)-based structures to improve the efficiency of their applications is presented. A proof of concept tool called XtoJ shows that this transformation can be automated to help programmers rapidly access the efficiency gained when JSON is used. • A refactoring system called Form Transformation Tool (FTT) is proposed as a technique to help programmers convert traditional web forms into Web 2.0 Ajax-enabled forms.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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