What is RMM?
There is a difference between developing a set of homepages
for a small website and developing systems on the Web that manage information,
interact with databases and are integrated with other enterprise information
systems. The latter, called Web System development, requires well
thought-out methods and different tools than those available from homepage
creation. The Relationship Management Methodology (RMM)
(114K)[Isakowitz 95] is a methodology for the design and construction
of Web systems on Inter- and Intra-nets.
Without guidance, WWW applications can evolve into an entangled
spaghetti-like collection of HTML pages that are hard to access and costly
to maintain. RMM is a aimed at solving these problems.
RMM in a Nutshell
RMM consists of a series (seven) of well-delineated steps
to guide in Web Systems design and development.
The design of a WWW application can be succinctly
represented with RMM diagrams so that designers, programmers and users
have a clear understanding of the scope and structure of the application.
is a software tool currently under construction, that supports RMM design
ADVANTAGES OF USING RMM
RMM enables a structured approach to design. It eliminates
spaghetti-like code in favor of well structured sites that are (1) easy
for users to navigate, and (2) easy to maintain.
Different groups can concurrently work with the design of
your WWW site. You can concurrently work on the information, access, user-interface
and layout stages.
RMM developed Web systems are easily updated. DATA updates
can be submitted either directly through the Web, or via database APIs
or SQL queries
RMM BENEFITS IN DETAIL
1) Robust Design:
Instead of starting with a bunch
of files here and there, and linking them, developers have guide to proceed
with the design and development.
RMM imposes discipline onto the system design and development process.
RMM assists in keeping a homogenous site so that a common "look and feel"
can be maintained throughout an application. This is important to aid in
user-navigation and to portray a consistent corporate identity.
2) Expressive Design:
In RMM, designs are expressed through concise graphical diagrams. This
facilitates the process of reviewing, creating and documenting designs.
Currently, there is no procedure
for documenting Web sites in a concise and useful way. The design of the
document site is expressed as an RMM diagram. Designers can use this diagram
to argue about the design and improve it.
3) Separation of data, structure and user-interface:
RMM keeps these three elements separate and allows them to be manipulated.
Instead of having a collection of directories and files to manage, software
developers can analyze these aspects of the application separately.
Currently Web sites consist
of groups of HTML files, CGI scripts, JAVA applets and multimedia files
(gifs, jpgs, au, wav, mov, etc.). In the current format, design elements,
such as page-layout and navigation access are merged with content elements.
This makes it extremely hard to develop and maintain applications. RMM
effectively separates these three components.
Maintenance of WWW sites is bound to be a costly task. Issues that arise
PROBLEM: it is difficult for designers to envision
and implement an overall navigation design.
RMM-SOLUTION: navigational access
is denoted through diagrams. These diagrams can be used by designers, users
and programmers to discuss and develop the system.
PROBLEM: revising the "look and feel" of a Web site
(done quite often) is a laborious and error-prone process.
RMM-SOLUTION: changes made to
the design cascade through the Web system with no programming costs and
A series of software tools to aid in RMM development will
be available in 1997. We are also compiling a library of reusable RMM designs.
For the following references consult the "hypermedia
``RMM: A Methodology for Structured Hypermedia Design'',
T. Isakowitz, E. A. Stohr, and P. Balasubramanian, Communications of the
ACM, Vol. 38, No. 8, August 1995, pp. 34--44. Main paper describing the
RMM methodology for hypermedia applications.
"Extending the Capabilities of RMM: Russian Dolls and Hypertext",
T. Isakowitz, A. Kamis, M. Koufaris. Proceedings of the Thirtieth Hawaii
International Conference on Information Systems (HICSS), Maui, HI, January
1997. Extensions that enable design of presentation layer aspects of
``RMC: A Tool To Design WWW Applications'', A. Diaz, T. Isakowitz,
V. Maiorana and G. Gilabert. Proceedings of the Fourth International World
Wide Web Conference, Boston, December 1995, http://www.w3.org/WWW4. Presents
an RMM-based design and development environment for organizational WWW
applications. This paper describes a proposed tool.
``Distributed Hypermedia Design'', T. Isakowitz, Journal
of Management Information Systems. (forthcoming). Describes RMM-based development,
emphasizing a common look and feel.
``Systematic Hypermedia Design'', V. Balasubramanian, M.
Bieber and T. Isakowitz, (Working paper). Describes the application
of RMM to the design and development of an on-line information system.
``Hypermedia in Information Systems and Organizations: An
Agenda for Research'', T. Isakowitz, Proceedings of the 26th Hawaii
International Conference on Information Systems (HICSS), Maui, HI,
January 1993. A visionary look at the impact of hypermedia in organizations.
``Hypermedia Design'', S. Frasse, F. Garzotto, T. Isakowitz,
J. Nanard and M. Nanard, eds., Springer Verlag, Workshops in Computing
Series, 1996, 252+x111 pages. (collection of articles on hypermedia design).
Tomás Isakowitz is an Assistant Professor
of Information Systems at New York University Stern School of Business.
His research interests are hypermedia technology and its applications,
decision support and temporal databases. Professor Isakowitz received his
B.Sc. in Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, his M. Sc.
in Mathematics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, his M.
Eng. and Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He
has taught at New York University's Stern School of Business, the International
University of Japan, and the University of Pennsylvania, and was a visiting
scholar at Stanford Research Institute. Dr. Isakowitz' software engineering
research interests focus on exploring new paradigms and methodologies to
facilitate software development, encourage software reuse and encourage
solid system construction. He is actively involved in hypertext research,
and has written extensively about the design and development of hypertext/hypermedia
applications. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Management
Information Systems, Communications of the ACM, Decision Support Systems,
ACM Transactions on Database Systems, ACM Transactions on Office Information
Systems, Decision Support Systems and elsewhere. He currently serves
on the editorial boards of the Journal of Management Information Systems,
the Journal of Electronic Commerce, and as a special issue editor
for the Journal of Organizational Computing and the Communications
of the ACM. Dr. Isakowitz has worked as a consultant for several international
companies, and is actively involved in the academic and practical issues
involving the design of Web applications.
Stern School of Business
New York University
44 W. 4th St. # 9-79
New York, NY 10012