13 years, 6 months ago

Essential Project–Open Source EA Metamodel

Link: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/nickmalik/archive/2010/12/31/essential-project-open-source-ea-metamodel.aspx

One thing that often occurs when a team sets out to create an EA tool is that they create a metamodel that will be supported within the tool.  As I pointed out in my last post, I would like to openly challenge tool makers to allow multiple simultaneous metamodels to exist, so that organizations can answer questions from multiple focused perspectives.  In my opinion, this challenge will be quite difficult to realize.

I’ve been looking at some of the public documentation for various EA tools in order to see the metamodels that they support.  This provides some insight into the level of difficulty of this challenge.  Along the way, I’m also becoming reacquainted with some things that I’ve seen before (like a long discussion of the Troux metamodel that I got from an EA conference a few years ago, and the detailed understanding of the alfabet metamodel that I have first-hand experience with, as well as some exposure to the Aris metamodel from IDS SHEER).

I also ran across an open source metamodel that is part of the open source Essential project – a project to create an open source EA tool.  (Personally, I think that open source EA tools are a good idea, but I think the business model that will ultimately win out is a cloud-based model that allows rapid deployment of an instance of an EA tool.  Open source may not be the best way to deliver that business… but that’s a future post.)

The thing that I’d like to call attention to is the detailed open source metamodel that has been produced by the Essential team.  Why is it interesting?  Perhaps because the metamodel is open source but not community developed!  In other words, I’ve seen no public discussion of this model and I cannot see any relationship between this model and those that have been discussed in public.  Why would I adopt an EA tool that allows one model at a time, yet is based on a model that I’ve had no insight into how it was made or what problems it was designed to solve?  Seems fairly backwards to me.

That said, the team that developed this model has done some very good work, and I recommend it to others for understanding and engagement. 

My biggest concern, before I take the time to really jump in, is that the model seems to have been created in PowerPoint.  That makes for some very difficult model analysis, which may mean that there are hidden defects in the model that are difficult to detect.  That doesn’t mean that defects exist… just that I’ve not found that PPT is a good environment for generating metamodels due to the difficulty of debugging the model.    [Correction: the model is produced in an OWL tool.  The metamodel visualizations on their web site are probably just that: visualizations for the sake of consumption — NM, corrected 1-4-2011]

Note that clicking on each of the images below will take you to the actual page on the Essential web site where the model originates.  No point in duplicating that data on my blog.

Essential Bus MM Essential App MM
Essential – Business Metamodel Elements Essential – Application Metamodel Elements
Essential Info MM Essential Tech MM
Essential – Information Metamodel Elements Essential – Technology Metamodel Elements