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User interface (UI) design is an integral part of the software design process. The UI design not only outlines the look and feel of the system, but also helps in flushing out the requirements - by identifying what data is visible to and processed by different users. However, in any SOA methodology, UI design is typically considered out of scope. In this paper, we highlight the importance of UI design specification in the SOA landscape, from a service- identification perspective. Service identification, which is a key activity in any SOA-based development, involves specification of business requirements as a set of granular service definitions. We propose an approach for harvesting the UI design specification to define service requirements for the intended system; more specifically in terms of information and business service requirements. Our approach consists of the following steps: (1) capture user interface design in a format amenable to automated analysis, with appropriate references to data and process models, (2) identify requirements for information services from data that is displayed in the user interface, and (3) identify business service requirements from the UI navigation flow and the links between the UI and the business process model. To illustrate our approach, we present a case study using the Amazon associate Web services. The study demonstrates how the use of UI designs can lead to better service identification. The proposed approach can complement any existing SOA methodology that follows a top-down approach to identify services.
Date of Conference: 23-26 Sept. 2008