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The Open Group Releases Draft of SOA Ontology Standard

by Dilip Krishnan on Jul 04, 2008 |

Last week The SOA Working Group contributed to the Open Group a draft version of SOA Ontology 2.0. This technical standard defines a formal ontology for Service Oriented Architecture. The ontology is written in the Web Ontology Language (OWL) defined by the World-Wide Web Consortium. It contains classes and properties corresponding to the important concepts of SOA.

As stated in the web-site the goals of the Ontologies for SOA project are

* [To] define the concepts, terminology and semantics of SOA in both business and technical terms, in order to:

  • Create a foundation for further work in domain-specific areas, 
  • Enable communications between business and technical people, 
  • Enhance the understanding of SOA concepts in the business and technical communities, and 
  • Provide a means to state problems and opportunities clearly and unambiguously to promote mutual understanding; and

* Potentially contribute to model-driven SOA implementation, which will facilitate SOA adoption.

Johan den Haan, working for Mendix as Head Research & Development, has the following comments

Their second objective, to potentially contribute to Model-Driven SOA implementation, is very ambitious. A stated a year ago in my article on Model-Driven SOA I believe that model driven technology is essential for making the promises of SOA come true. I also stated that the SOA ontology working group of The Open Group can play an important role: "If their work can become mature fast enough they can play a big role in vendor-independent modeling formats".

I think it is important to create a common vocabulary (ontology) on these kinds of services, their interaction and their implementation elements.

Dave Oliver an Enterprise Architect at Scottish and Southern Energy, UK believes that

[...] business will find this difficult to adopt in the same way they found UML difficult. Why because they are both coding languages [...] The gap between logical design and executing code is a large as ever [...] that IT cannot handle business logic detail on it's own, so alignment between business and IT will come when hybrid groups formed of technologically minded users and business oriented IT exist to make, maintain and specialise in services that support their business area based on IT standards and underlying IT technologies and services.

In a news-group posting Florian Lautenbacher of the Programming Distributed Systems Lab Institute of Computer Science, critiques the standards draft and poses a set of questions and feedback for the Open Group.

As we covered earlier, ontological technologies continue to expand and this only means we are getting that much closer to the vision of a semantic world in the enterprise.

Do check out the original draft and send in your comments.

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