By Pavel Boytchev (Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski)

There is a famous saying that theoretically, there is no difference between theory and practice, but practically – there is. We developed the first working prototype of the RAGE Metadata Editor in early 2016. Its goal was to view and edit of the asset metadata by exposing the full comprehensiveness of the metadata model. Theoretically, it was believed that such approach would allow asset developers to easily describe their software assets. Practically, it didn’t. An internal review in the beginning of 2017 revealed, that asset developers outside the RAGE consortium might find it difficult to use the metadata editor.

That’s why in March and April 2017 we developed the RAGE Software Asset Wizard. Although it serves the same purpose – editing asset metadata – the wizard approach was conceptually different. Instead of being metadata-model-centric like the editor, the wizard is designed as a user-centric tool. The major differences between the wizard and the editor are:

  1. The editing process in the wizard is organized in several phases, so users could follow a sequence of steps when describing various aspects of their software assets.
  2. Each metadata element is accompanied with a detailed description of its contents and purpose. This guides the asset developer what information about their asset is actually required.
  3. In the wizard there are indicators showing the completeness of the asset description – both of the asset as a whole and of each individual step.
  4. Finally, the wizard contains new elements, like several types of asset descriptions (promotional, non-technical, and technical), asset logo image, coding style, performed tests, a self-declaration of metadata accuracy and so on.

The practical implementation of this new design stretched the boundaries of the theoretical metadata model. However, as the model was specifically designed to be extendible through custom-defined elements, we managed to fit all the new data, introduced in the wizard, within the existing asset metadata model.

Additionally, we implemented another new tool – the Asset Metadata Viewer. It provides the wizard-like user-centric overview of an asset metadata. This helped us to simplify the use of the Asset Manager.

In theory, the new tools would provide a more productive users’ experience. In practice, … we have to wait for the results of the usability study, which is running right now.

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