The <bigwig> Project

Claus Brabrand, Anders Møller, and Michael I. Schwartzbach


We present the results of the <bigwig> project, which aims to design and implement a high-level domain-specific language for programming interactive Web services.

A fundamental aspect of the development of the World Wide Web during the last decade is the gradual change from static to dynamic generation of Web pages. Generating Web pages dynamically in dialog with the client has the advantage of providing up-to-date and tailor-made information. The development of systems for constructing such dynamic Web services has emerged as a whole new research area.

The <bigwig> language is designed by analyzing its application domain and identifying fundamental aspects of Web services inspired by problems and solutions in existing Web service development languages. The core of the design consists of a session-centered service model together with a flexible template-based mechanism for dynamic Web page construction. Using specialized program analyses, certain Web-specific properties are verified at compile time, for instance that only valid HTML 4.01 is ever shown to the clients. In addition, the design provides high-level solutions to form field validation, caching of dynamic pages, and temporal-logic based concurrency control, and it proposes syntax macros for making highly domain-specific languages.

The language is implemented via widely available Web technologies, such as Apache on the server-side and JavaScript and Java Applets on the client-side. We conclude with experience and evaluation of the project.

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