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Modeling Web sites with Ubiquity RP

Sep 15, 20042 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Making Web site prototyping more organized and effective

Designing a Web site is tedious at best because there are few prototyping tools. Sure, you can draft a design using something like Frontpage but that kind of tool is not a prototyping system per se – it is more like a pile of bricks and a bucket of cement than a drawing board.

I just found a product that makes Web site prototyping a more organized and effective endeavor: Ubiquity RP from Axure Software Solutions (see editorial links below).

URP is a graphical RAD environment that allows you to model the entire logical flow and structure of a Web site, annotate the components of the design, document the entire structure, and produce a working draft.

You start by creating a hierarchical view called a sitemap of all of the pages that you plan to include and then add all of the objects (text, form fields, hyperlinks, buttons, etc.). You assign the targets of links and the logic flow by adding a list of alternatives to any object that supports links.

Objects can be grouped and individual components or groups can have annotations such as status, benefit, risk, and assigned to, as well as custom fields to fit your workflow requirements.

You can also create templates and references. Templates are collections of objects that can be applied to multiple pages and have fixed positions on the pages on which they are applied. Changes to templates are reflected on all pages that use the template. References are also groups of objects and changes also propagate but they don’t have fixed positions.

When the architecture is complete you can generate a prototype that consists of HTML pages augmented by JavaScript that provide all of the navigation including being able to follow any of the multiple links assigned to objects such as buttons. This allows you to easily model the logic flow that would be provided by additions such as CGI programs.

You can also generate sophisticated reports that provide complete breakdowns of all of the pages and objects in designs as Word files.

The current release level is Version 2 and Version 3, due out in a few weeks, promises to add workgroup features for collaboratively design.

This is a very impressive tool and a 30-day trial is available for free while the full version of Ubiquity RP is available online for $589.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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