Specification by Reformulation: A Paradigm for Building Integrated User Support Environments

John Yen, Robert Neches, Michael DeBellis

Specification by reformulation is a general interface paradigm. It is an abstraction of retrieval by reformulation, a paradigm used in previous systems for assisting users in formulating database queries. Specification by reformulation serves as a general foundation upon which domain specific applications can be built. To illustrate its usage, we describe three services built within it: a database retrieval aid, a notecards facility, and an electronic-mail interface to an on-line procurement system. Building systems in this way illustrates the concept of an integrated user support environment - a set of cooperating tools for end users that can be extended by application builders.

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