Skip to main content

The Nested Context Language reuse features


NCL, the standard declarative language of the Brazilian Terrestrial Digital TV System and ITU-T Recommendation for IPTV Services, provides a high level of reuse in the design of hypermedia applications. In this paper we detail how its design and conceptual model have succeeded in supporting reuse at a declarative level. NCL supports not only static but also running code reuse. It also allows for reuse inside applications, reuse between applications, and reuse of code spans stored in external libraries. For a specification language to promote reuse, however, it must have a number of usability merits. Aspects of NCL usability are thus analyzed with the Cognitive Dimensions of Notation framework.


  1. ABNT NBR 15606-2:2007 (2009) Digital terrestrial television—Data coding and transmission specification for digital broadcasting—Part 2: Ginga-NCL for fixed and mobile receivers—XML application language for application coding. April 2009

  2. Soares LFG, Rodrigues RF, Moreno MF (2007) Ginga-NCL: the declarative environment of the Brazilian digital TV system. J Braz Comput Soc 4(12):37–46

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Blackwell AF, Green TRG (2003) Notational systems—the cognitive dimensions of notations framework. In: Carroll JM (ed) HCI models, theories and frameworks: toward a multidisciplinary science. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, pp 103–134

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  4. Blackwell AF (2006) Ten years of cognitive dimensions in visual languages and computing. J Vis Lang Comput 17(4):285–287

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Muchaluat-Saade DC, Rodrigues RF, Soares LFG (2002) XConnector: extending XLink to provide multimedia synchronization. In: II ACM symposium on document engineering—DocEng2002, McLean, USA

  6. Clements PC (1996) A survey of architecture description languages. In: 8th international workshop on software specifications and design. IEEE Comput Soc, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  7. Soares LFG, Rodrigues RF, Cerqueira RFG, Barbosa SDJ (2009) Variable and state handling in NCL. Multimed Tools Appl. ISSN/ISBN: 13807501

  8. Moody D (2009) Theory development in visual language research: beyond the cognitive dimensions of notations. In: IEEE symp. visual languages and human-centric computing, 2009. IEEE conference proceedings series. IEEE Press, New York, pp 151–154. doi:10.1109/VLHCC.2009.5295275

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  9. Blackwell AF, Whitley KN, Good J, Petre M (2002) Cognitive factors in programming with diagrams. Artif Intell Rev 15(1–2):95–114

    Google Scholar 

  10. Khazaei B, Triffitt E (2002) Applying cognitive dimensions to evaluate and improve the usability of Z formalism. In: SEKE ’02: Proceedings of the 14th international conference on software engineering and knowledge engineering, July 2002

  11. Neumann C, Metoyer RA, Burnett M (2009) End-user strategy programming. J Vis Lang Comput 20(1):16–29. doi:10.1016/j.jvlc.2008.04.005. ISSN 1045-926X

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Guerra E, de Lara J, Malizia A, Diaz P (2009) Supporting user-oriented analysis for multi-view domain-specific visual languages. Inf Softw Technol 51(4):769–784. doi:10.1016/j.infsof.2008.09.005. ISSN 0950-5849

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Le-Phuoc D, Polleres A, Hauswirth M, Tummarello G, Morbidoni C (2009) Rapid prototyping of semantic mash-ups through semantic web pipes. In: Proceedings of the 18th international conference on World Wide Web, Madrid, Spain, April 20–24, 2009

  14. Ennals R, Gay D (2007) User-friendly functional programming for web mashups. In: ICFP ’07: Proceedings of the 12th ACM SIGPLAN international conference on functional programming, October 2007

  15. Kauhanen M, Biddle R (2007) Cognitive dimensions of a game scripting tool. In: Proceedings of the 2007 conference on future play, Toronto, Canada, November 14–17, 2007

  16. Gelernter D, Jagganathan S (1990) Programming linguistics: a first course in the design and evolution of programming languages. MIT Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  17. Azevedo RGA, Lima BS, Soares Neto CS, Teixeira MM (2009) Uma abordagem para autoria textual de documentos hipermídia baseada no uso de visualização programática e navegação hipertextual. In: XV Simpósio Brasileiro de sistemas multimídia e Web—WebMedia 2009. Fortaleza, CE (available only in Portuguese)

  18. Guimarães RL, Costa RMR, Soares LFG (2008) Composer: authoring tool for iTV programs. In: European interactive TV conference—EuroITV2008, Salzburg, Austria

  19. ITU-T Recommendation H.761 (2009) Nested Context Language (NCL) and Ginga-NCL for IPTV services. Geneva

  20. Johnson RE (1997) Components, frameworks, patterns. In: Proceedings of the 1997 symposium on software reusability. ACM, New York, pp 10–17. ISBN: 0-89791-945-9

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  21. Frakes WB, Fox CJ (1995) Sixteen questions about software reuse. Commun ACM 38(6):75-ff. ISSN: 0001-0782

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Lie HW, Bos B (1997) Cascading style sheets. World Wide Web J 2(1):75–123. Special Issue on advancing HTML: style and substance. ISSN: 1085-2301. O’Reilly & Associates, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  23. W3C (2008) Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG): XML graphics for the Web.

  24. W3C (2008) Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 3.0) W3C recommendation.

  25. Felix MF, Haeusler EH, Soares LFG (2002) Validating hypermedia documents: a timed automata approach. In: Monografias em ciência da computação—PUC-Rio, Brasil, 2002

  26. Soares Neto CS, Souza CS, Soares LFG (2008) Linguagens computacionais como interfaces: um estudo com nested context language. In: Simpósio Brasileiro de fatores humanos em sistemas computacionais, Porto Alegre, RS, 2008 (available only in Portuguese)

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carlos de Salles Soares Neto.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Soares Neto, C.d.S., Soares, L.F.G. & de Souza, C.S. The Nested Context Language reuse features. J Braz Comput Soc 16, 229–245 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: