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Re: EDI = Web3.0 driving MDA?

From: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 09:01:03 +0100
Message-ID: <1f2ed5cd0707100101w78cc0e0fl8970446fd03da630@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Elisa F. Kendall" <ekendall@sandsoft.com>
Cc: "AJ Chen" <canovaj@gmail.com>, mpbelanger@jarg.com, semantic-web@w3.org

On 10/07/07, Elisa F. Kendall <ekendall@sandsoft.com> wrote:
>
>  Hi Michael,
>
>  Actually, the work we've been spearheading within OMG is not only moving
> towards ontology-based SOA, but is actually much broader than that.   The
> Ontology Definition Metamodel (ODM), available at
> http://www.omg.org/cgi-bin/doc?ptc/2006-10-11, provides a
> starting point for much more general "Semantic Web Enabled Software
> Engineering", a phrase coined by Evan Wallace (NIST) a few years ago when we
> first started pulling some of these ideas together for workshops at ISWC.

Personally I very much welcome the OMG work (and the SDForum event
sounds mighty interesting), but I would just like to chip in on a
point that seems very important.

While joining together the worlds of MDA, ontology-based modelling and
SOA has the potential to be a big step forward on the road to the
Semantic Web, I really hope one particular aspect will be given
appropriate consideration. This is the "Web" in Web Ontology Language,
the "Resource" in Resource Description Framework.

Without strong recognition of the Web's protocol HTTP with its core
concepts of resources (/URIs) and methods all we have is yet another
set of logical models for knowledge representation. I have no doubt
about the intrinsic benefits of ontology languages for working with
heterogenous real-world information (compared to say straight OO,
Codd's relational model or even Prolog...), but without fully
acknowledging the Web side, potentially the biggest benefit may be
overlooked - the Semantic Web itself.

Coming from the direction of general Web development the notion of a
Resource-Oriented Architecture (ROA) has recently emerged. This is
derived from the base specs of the Web, Fielding's thesis, and like
the W3C Technical Architecture Group's WebArch document [1] has the
validation of practical experience in Web development to date. The
ideas are laid out in Richardson & Ruby's book RESTful Web Services
[2] and Google knows of many related blog posts. While this book is
lacking material on specifically Semantic Web technologies (which is
flabbergasting, see [3]), the ROA approach is entirely consistent with
Semantic Web Enabled Software Engineering.

For the Web developer at large, ROA offers an approach to services
that while broadly aligned with the general principles of SOA largely
bypasses the arcane, convoluted and often not Web-friendly
technologies (RPC!) found in the SOAPy Web Services stack.

It seems to me that without recognition there is a relatively simple
Web-oriented approach to system development (with resources and a
uniform interface based on URIs and the verbs of HTTP featuring
prominently), any ontology-based MDA strategy runs the risk of
overengineering and becoming a Byzantine stack comparable to that of
WS-*, largely disjoint from developments on the Web. This could easily
be counter-productive to future software development in the new
globally-networked environment.

In short, I'd suggest the Semantic Web is most productively viewed as
an extension of the current Web rather than as traditional
(comparatively monolithic) software with shallow Web characteristics
added as an afterthought. This is irrespective of the sophistication
of the object modelling techniques taken in isolation. I do hope the
good people of the OMG bear this in mind.

Cheers,
Danny.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/webarch/
[2] http://www.crummy.com/writing/RESTful-Web-Services/
[3] http://blogs.sun.com/bblfish/entry/restful_web_services_the_book

-- 

http://dannyayers.com
Received on Tuesday, 10 July 2007 08:01:11 UTC

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