Flexible packaging methodologies for rapid deployment of customisable component-based digital libraries
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 82-86).
Software engineering is a discipline concerned with manufacturing or developing software. Software plays a pivotal role in everyday life, an absence of which will be devastating to a number of governmental, recreational and financial activities, amongst many others. One of the latest branches of software engineering, component-based software engineering, is concerned with the development of software systems using already existing components which speculatively will ensure rapid and inexpensive software development processes. Parallel with the advances in software engineering, the field of digital libraries - a field dealing with Web-based access to and management of structured digital content - has adopted this development model from software engineering to shift focus from developing and using traditionally monolithic software systems to developing and using more flexible component-oriented software systems. Since componentised development approaches are relatively recent, other areas such as packaging and managing component-based software systems still remain unattended to. This dissertation presents research on techniques and methodologies for packaging customisable componentbased digital libraries such that deployment is rapid and flexibility is not compromised. Although the reference point of this research was that of component-based digital library systems, it is believed that this research can be generalised across the family of Web-based component-based software systems. An outcome of this research was a prototype packaging system consisting of a pair of tools: a package builder tool and a package installer tool. This packaging system was developed to model the ideas and methodologies that were identified as important to the processes of packaging and installing component-based digital library systems. These tools consequently underwent a user evaluation study whereby they were evaluated for understandability, usability and usefulness to the processes of packaging and installing component-based digital libraries.