Several languages have been proposed for business process modelling. Though most of them follow the conventional representation of processes as a series of steps, they emphasize different aspects of processes and related structures, such as organizations, products, and data. Consequently, they are suited for different kinds of processes. Even if you are determined to use a particular technique, knowledge of alternative approaches can still guide the modelling, by surfacing complementary points of view. In addition to the common transformational process models, this post discusses block structured languages, storytelling, and process modeling languages that are hierarchical, flow-oriented, role-oriented, communication-oriented, declarative, goal-oriented, timelines, product and document state machines etc. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve made a small effort to investigate the detailed properties of Microsoft Oslo, and how it could fit into a larger modeling environment that also includes Visio for business diagramming. As an example, I used the Enterprise Knowledge Architecture core, a simple language that we have defined for reflective and extensible architectures. First, the language was defined as types, extents and templates in Intellipad. Then these structures were deployed to the Oslo repository, and finally we used the data link feature in Visio to show the elements in a business diagram.
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With model-driven applications in Oslo, Microsoft aims to reduce the amount of code needed for custom applications by 90%. Recognizing that “the model is the application”, they envision a move away from the model editor as a separate tool for developers. In our perspective, UML is a visual programming language and Microsoft’s M is a textual modeling language. To be accessible to business users, a visual modeling language is needed.
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During the past decade, model-driven software engineering has matured through the standards developed by the OMG (Object Management Group). Model-driven architectures (commonly known as MDA) and model-driven applications are complementary approaches to developing new IT solutions. Business level enterprise models serve as an excellent starting point for conventional software application development. The main objective of model-driven applications however, is not to increase the amount of software code, but rather to create a new kind of software platform that can be configured and repurposed through modeling, rather than programming. There are therefore some clear differences between MDA and model-driven applications: Read the rest of this entry »