The MAUI Toolkit: Groupware Widgets for Group Awareness
Group awareness is an important part of synchronous collaboration, and support for group awareness can greatly improve groupware usability. However, it is still difficult to build groupware that supports group awareness. To address this problem, we have developed the Multi-User Awareness UI toolkit (MAUI) toolkit, a Java toolkit with a broad suite of awareness-enhanced UI components. The toolkit contains both extensions of standard Swing widgets, and groupware-specific components such as telepointers. All components have added functionality for collecting, distributing, and visualizing group awareness information. The toolkit packages components as JavaBeans, allowing wide code reuse, easy integration with IDEs, and drag-and-drop creation of working group-aware interfaces. The toolkit provides the first ever set of UI widgets that are truly collaboration-aware, and provides them in a way that greatly simplifies the construction and testing of rich groupware interfaces.