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UIML TC Call For Participation

Date:      Mon, 28 Oct 2002 08:38:00 -0500
From:      Karl Best <>
Subject:   OASIS TC Call For Participation: User Interface Markup Language

A new OASIS technical committee is being formed. The OASIS User Interface Markup Language Technical Committee (UIML TC) has been proposed by the following members of OASIS: Didier Courtaud, Association Aristote; and Marc Abrams, Jim Helms, and Hedy Alban, individual members.

The proposal for a new TC meets the requirements of the OASIS TC Process (see, and is appended to this message. The proposal, which includes a statement of purpose, list of deliverables, and proposed schedule, will constitute the TC's charter. The TC Process allows these items to be clarified (revised) by the TC members; such clarifications (revisions), as well as submissions of technology for consideration by the TC and the beginning of technical discussions, may occur no sooner than the TC's first meeting.

To become a member of this new TC you must 1) be an employee of an OASIS member organization or an Individual member of OASIS; 2) notify the TC co-chairs, Didier Courtaud ( and Marc Abrams ( of your intent to participate at least 15 days prior to the first meeting; and 3) attend the first meeting on 16 December. You should also subscribe to the TC's mail list. Note that membership in OASIS TCs is by individual, and not by organization. You must be eligible for participation at the time you time you notify the chair.

The private mail list is for committee discussions. TC members as well as any other interested OASIS members should subscribe to the list by going to the mail list web page at, or by sending a message to with the word "subscribe" as the body of the message. (Note that subscribing to the mail list does not make you a member of the TC; to become a member you must contact the TC chair and attend the first meeting as described in the preceeding paragraph.)

A public comment list will be available for the public to make comments on the work of this TC; a message may be sent to the TC via the address

The archives of both of these mail lists are visible to the public at

Further information on this topic may be found in the Cover Page article "XML Markup Languages for User Interface Definition" at


Karl F. Best
OASIS - Director, Technical Operations
+1 978.667.5115 x206

User Interface Markup Language (UIML) Specification Technical Committee

Name of the TC

User Interface Markup Language (UIML) Specification Technical Committee

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the User Interface Markup Language (UIML) Specification Technical Committee is to develop a specification for an abstract meta-language that can provide a canonical XML representation of any user interface (UI). The language should be capable of specifying the requirements, design, and implementation of any UI.

The committee will use the UIML3 specification created by Virginia Tech's Center for Human Computer Interaction, Harmonia, Inc., and other organizations on as a starting point [1]. The owners/creators of this specification claim no intellectual property with regard to UIML and will not seek licensing reparation for its use in this TC, nor will they seek ownership of any work produced by the TC.

The TC differs in scope from other committees and working groups that address concrete UI implementation languages (e.g., assembly language, C, C++, CSS, Java, HTML, VoiceXML, WML, XForms, XHTML, XSL-FO). Instead, this TC focuses on an abstract language, UIML, which expresses UIs at a higher level than the concrete languages. UIML's goal is to subsume in expressive power all concrete languages, and to permit efficient mapping from UIML to any concrete language.

The TC has a secondary purpose -- to use UIML to bridge UI-related fields:

  • Techniques from the Human Computer Interaction field. These include UI models, transformational techniques, techniques for computer automation of UIs, usability engineering, generalization of the Model-View-Controller, and new UI metaphors.

  • UI designers that want to think in terms of domain-specific abstractions (e.g., navigation maneuver for an automobile UI, material path for a factory automation UI), rather than at a widget level.

  • UI designers that want a way to capture author intents and map UIs to different devices to create accessible UIs.

  • Techniques to internationalize UIs.

  • Techniques that help integrate UIs with Web Services (e.g., WSDL).

A general motivation for a canonical UI representation language is to accelerate the development of tools for UI development. If practitioners from these fields build tools with UIML, then the tools can interoperate. Just as XML made toolbuilders more efficient (because tools built for XML work for any XML vocabulary), so can UIML make UI toolbuilders more efficient (because tools built for UIML work for any vocabulary representing any concrete UI implementation language). Thus the TC's work will serve to assemble the jigsaw puzzle pieces of UI and HCI technology that have been created.

The TC will evaluate UIML3 and other UI initiatives to formulate a plan for creation of a specification, develop the specification, create compliance tests and implementations, and submit the specification to the OASIS membership for approval.

Relationship to Existing Activities

Many efforts related to use of XML to describe UIs are underway throughout the industry. The following work may be relevant to this TC:

  • Many W3C Working Groups and Activities, including Accessibility, CSS, Device Independence, Voice, XForms, XHTML
  • Mozilla XUL
  • OASIS HumanMarkup TC

List of Deliverables


  • Assessment of how UIML fits other committees and working groups addressing user interfaces (projected for completion 90 days after first meeting)
  • List of open issues in the UIML 3.0 specification (projected for completion 120 days after first meeting)
  • Revised specification based on issues list (projected for completion 240 [days] after first meeting)
  • Implementations of the specification by different parties
  • Compliance test suite
  • Best implementation practices
  • Revised Specification based on implementation experience

Optional deliverables

  • Documents describing requirements for UIML
  • Analysis of using UIML to make interfaces accessible
  • Document giving UIML examples

Language in Which the TC will Conduct Business


Date and Time of the First Meeting

The first meeting will be held via teleconference on Monday, December 16, 2002. The meeting will start at 11:00 a.m. EST (16:00 GMT), and will last one hour.

Meeting Schedule for the First Year

The TC will meet via monthly teleconference calls on the 2nd Monday of each month at 11:00 a.m. EST (16:00 GMT), with additional meetings scheduled as needed by the TC members. The phone call sponsors will be determined at the initial meeting.

In April 2003 there will be no phone meeting. Instead, there will be a face-to-face meeting held at the UIML 2003 conference in Paris, France.

Contact Information for TC Founders

Didier Courtaud, Association Aristote,
Marc Abrams, individual member,
Jim Helms, individual member,
Hedy Alban, individual member,


Didier Courtaud
Marc Abrams

Meeting Sponsors

Jim Helms, Harmonia, Inc., will sponsor the first TC meeting. Sponsorship of subsequent TC meetings, whether in person or conference calls, will be determined by the TC membership.


[1] UIML3 Specification, 8 February 2002.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See general references in "XML Markup Languages for User Interface Definition."

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