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Subject: FW: [soa-rm] Fw: The Open Group SOA Ontology


I hope we’re going to join this discussion when we have our release candidate complete?






From: Jeffrey A. Estefan [mailto:jeffrey.a.estefan@jpl.nasa.gov]
Sent: 06 August 2008 16:44
To: soa-rm@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: [soa-rm] Fw: The Open Group SOA Ontology






 - JAE

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 4:20 AM

Subject: Re: The Open Group SOA Ontology


Hello, Jeff -

At 23:57 01/08/2008, Jeffrey A. Estefan wrote:

Hello Chris,
I have made a first cut draft at capturing the set of working definitions used for principal and supporting concepts in the respective SOA standard work of OASIS (OASIS Reference Model for SOA - SOA-RM & Reference Architecture for SOA - SOA-RA), the OMG (SOA-Pro submission to UML Profile and Metamodel for Services (UPMS) RFP, and The Open Group SOA Ontology.  Please see the attached Word document.  If you have any trouble opening it, please let me know.

This looks to be a very useful comparison! Do you intend to publish it, in due course? If so, and if it is available before we publish the ontology, the ontology could reference it. If not, would you have a problem with us including material from it, with due acknowledgement, as an appendix to the ontology?

Ideally, we'd like to see every cell in the table filled in.  Again, I stress, this is a first draft.  Feel free to update any cells for the SOA Ontology column that I've missed.

I'll go through it in detail and send you comments.

Also, could you provide the current version number of the SOA Ontology and publication date of that revision?  This would be the one you sent to the OASIS SOA-RA editors and to our TC Chair, Duane Nickull.  That way, I can update the table entry accordingly.  I took the date from the PDF properties file so I don't know if this is accurate.

The ontology has not yet been published. We hope to publish in Q4 of this year. What is on the web currently is a draft for comment. It is identified as Draft 2.0.

We have a couple of volunteers on the SOA-RA team who are going through the SOA Ontology and that will roll up into an official OASIS response hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

That's great!

In the meantime, rest assured that we fill having an industry standard SOA ontology represented in OWL or other industry standard representation is a very good thing.  What we are mostly concerned with is alignment of at least the core SOA concepts; specifically, the definition of "Service."  It is very important that we (the key Open Stds organizations of OASIS, OMG, and The Open Group) collectively harmonize on some of the core SOA concepts; otherwise, we will all be doing the practitioner and business stakeholder community at large a huge disservice.

I agree that we need compatibility. We should recognise, though, that different viewpoints often produce different definitions. For example, London can be defined, from a political point of view, as "the capital of the UK" and, from a geographical point of view, as "the lowest crossing point on the river Thames." Both definitions are equally valid, and equally useful (and the connection between them is interesting to historians). We shouldn't try to force everyone touse the same definition.

An effort to standardize on such core concepts was ratified back in Oct 2006 by OASIS and that is the OASIS Reference Model for SOA.  The Open Group SOA Ontology does cite this resource and does utilize some key concepts such as Effects and Contracts & Policies, but again, having a divergent definition of "Service" for example, is probably not a good thing.

We had a project at around the same time to develop a definition of SOA, and have based our work on what it came up with. I don't think that the Open Group and OASIS definitions are incompatible, but they are from slightly different viewpoints.

You are probably aware of the SOA-Pro submittal from the OMG by now, but in case you have not seen it, you can download a copy at the following URL:
I would like to point your attention to Annex B starting on page 98 of that draft standard, which shows conformance to the OASIS SOA-RM.  It would be very helpful to have a similar Annex as part of The Open Group SOA Ontology.  As my attached table shows, we will likely all have varying degrees of definitions to are concepts, but again, I think it's key that we at least line up on the very core, principal concepts with somewhat minor variation.  There are additional supporting concepts that the SOA-Pro does a very good job that those of us on the SOA-RA Subcommittee are taking a hard look at for possible adoption.  Similarly, your SOA Ontology introduces the notion of "Activity," which is missing in our SOA-RA work and we will be looking at that key concept as well in development of the SOA-RA.

We have a particular understanding of conformance in The Open Group, based on our experience of defining and operating certification programs over many years. We use the term "conformance" in relation to products and standards, rather than in relation to models (or ontologies) and other models. But an analysis of the relation between the ontology and the OASIS RM, as you have started in your document, is very helpful.

I think I've rambled on enough.  Please feel free to share this information with your respective SOA Working Group colleagues.  If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line.

Thanks! I'm forwarding this to our ontology project team.

 - Jeff
A. Estefan, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Office: (818) 393-5280, Fax: (818) 393-0028
Email: Jeffrey.A.Estefan@jpl.nasa.gov
Voting Member, OASIS Reference Model for Service Oriented Architecture Technical Committee
Voting Member, OASIS Reference Architecture for Service Oriented Architecture Subcommittee
Voting Member, OASIS Service Component Architecture - Assembly Technical Committee



Dr. Christopher J. Harding
Forum Director for SOA and Semantic Interoperability
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