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Re: [ALL, SE] Review of Se SW Primer for OOSD

From: Holger Knublauch <holger@knublauch.com>
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 13:49:12 +0000
Message-ID: <43944558.7020502@knublauch.com>
To: swbp <public-swbp-wg@w3.org>

Thanks greatly for your comments, Elisa!  My comments are inline.

Holger


Elisa F. Kendall wrote:
> 
> Hi All,
> 
> I've reviewed the 2005/11/14 version of the note posted at 
> http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/BestPractices/SE/ODSD/
> and have the following comments:
> 
> Overall, this looks pretty good from my perspective, and the examples in 
> particular are really helpful.
> 
> 1.  Abstract -- I think Jeremy had feedback on this - it really needs 
> tightening up and possibly bullets would
> help with the flow.  If Jeff/Phil would like me to help in this regard, 
> let me know once the other issues
> have been addressed.

We will post a revised version of the abstract in the next public 
version over the next few days.  We also need to incorporate recent 
comments from Grady Booch.


> 2.  Introduction -- I would like to see the example use OCL to represent 
> the constraint that is currently a
> note, since MDA-based models that adhere to design by contract methods 
> would do this today, enabling
> code generation for the behavioral constraint as well as for the 
> structural elements of the model.  There may
> be a similar example in Dave Frankel's book we can draw from to support 
> this, for a similar application,
> in fact.  Also, several of the issues raised in the paragraph beginning 
> "Since we anticipate ..." could actually
> be handled today through OCL - we should find specific semantic issues 
> that either cannot be, or that are
> really tricky to implement in OCL rather than the simpler ones, or use 
> the countries example from the
> following paragraph to show how the semantics differ.

The comparison between OCL and OWL is a recurring topic, very worth 
discussing.  I am not an OCL expert and hope that someone else can 
correct me.  My belief is that OCL has been created to define 
constraints to limit class membership to those instances that fulfill 
these constraints.  This is useful in many real-world settings, 
especially to provide a formal documentation of the anticipated use 
cases of a (UML) diagram.

OWL restrictions can play a similar role (if the developers decide to 
interpret restrictions in a rather closed world sense), but the focus is 
on supporting reasoning.  A key concept here is the distinction between 
defined and primitive classes.  This distinction is not obvious in OCL, 
making automated reasoning difficult.

I am also not sure about how many "real" programmers use OCL nowadays. 
My personal opinion is that there is more being written about it than 
people really use it.  The goal of this paper is to attract mainstream 
developers to look into Semantic Web technology.  I have tried to make 
the paper as simple as possible, so that the target audience finds a 
common grounding where it can hook into and understand the topic, 
without being put off by yet another formal language.

Furthermore, I don't want to argue that one language is more expressive 
than the other - I am sure there are work-arounds where both can cover a 
lot of ground.  However, one of the main messages of the paper is to 
stress the advantage of *model sharing on the Web*.  OCL is not a Web 
language, and OO models are developed for a closed world, usually 
limited to a certain application or enterprise.

So I don't think it is necessary or helpful for the understanding of the 
introduction to include OCL in the first Figure.  However, you are 
absolutely right that OCL should not go unmentioned.  I suggest the 
following additional paragraph to the end of the Introduction:


"To summarize, the key benefits of RDF Schema and OWL compared to 
object-oriented languages are:

Reuse and interoperability: RDF and OWL models can be shared among 
applications and on the web
Flexibility: RDF and OWL models can operate in an open environment in 
which classes can be defined dynamically etc
Consistency and Quality Checking across models
Reasoning: OWL has rich expressivity supported by automated reasoning tools

[begin] Note that some of these benefits such as consistency checking 
and automated reasoning can also be achieved by means of the Object 
Constraint Language (OCL).  OCL is part of the OMG's family of languages 
for Model-Driven Architecture, and provides similar expressivity like 
modern Semantic Web languages.  For example the constraint from Figure 1 
could have been expressed in OCL to formalize the conditions of 
duty-free orders.  However, OCL has not been designed for the Web, but 
is optimized to represent constraints within rather closed data models. 
   Semantic Web technology has been designed for an open world, in which 
models are shared among multiple applications and groups.    We will 
show later how this openness manifests itself in the Semantic Web 
languages.  It is worth noting though that the differences between 
object-oriented languages and OWL are not impossible to bridge.  In 
fact, an OMG working group is defining an Ontology Definition Metamodel 
<a href="#ref-ODM-2005">[ODM 2005]</a> that will allow developers to use 
Semantic Web languages in tandem with other formats such as OCL.[end]

This document now goes on to explain how object-oriented applications 
can be designed and implemented with the help of Semantic Web 
technologies..."



> One thing that could be emphasized is the advantage that separating the 
> domain vocabulary from the
> rules (OCL) brings not only from a reusability/patterns perspective but 
> from a scalability perspective when
> talking about design-by-contract.  Factoring the vocabulary from the 
> rules not only addes this, but
> supports reuse of rule patterns.

Maybe I don't understand this aspect.  From any OCL-embellished UML 
diagram you can always still extract the classes tree, and only reuse 
parts of it.  Could you clarify where in the paper I could reflect your 
comment?  Thanks.


> 3/4. Application Development -- Either here or in the following section, 
> it would be good to have a paragraph
> to discuss a stepwise process that includes ontology development, 
> consistency checking, validation -->
> integrating the ontology with the application --> consistency checking 
> of parts of the application model
> where possible using OWL reasoners --> code generation.  This might fit 
> in with the Dynamic
> Object Model discussion, but the advantages of model consistency 
> checking cannot be emphasized enough
> here.

I agree this would be nice to have.  I am not sure though how to fit it 
into the flow of the document, without expanding the paper (and pushing 
back the projected publication date which we all hope to reach before 
x-mas).  We did not cover the development process issues with ontologies 
at all, and I feel this may go beyond the scope of this paper.  It would 
be great to have a reference to a paper on this so that we can link to 
other work.  If there are no other papers on this topic, then a Best 
Practices note is not the best place to invent the theory.  I suggest if 
anyone else wants to contribute a paragraph or two, we could integrate them.


> Appendix -- no mention of ODM?  or any of the OMG standards?  I'll 
> create a list of links and references
> to add and forward them to SE separately, along with inline comments on 
> the document itself.

As you have seen, I am suggestion to add this as a reference with an 
inline comment in the introduction.  Let me know if you are not happy 
with this :)
Received on Monday, 5 December 2005 13:49:27 UTC

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