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Improving Consistency for Tools - ‘TRAK. Implementation. Architecture Description Elements’ Document
by Nic Plum on Monday 05 September, 2011 - 15:03 GMT
There is a constant need to reduce the scope for inconsistency in any architecture description. TRAK is no different. TRAK has been defined in a way that is free of implementation and using natural language wherever possible. One of the pitfalls of this is the possibility that names will be implemented inconsistently in tools. For example, the attribute ‘start date’ might be called ‘start date’, ‘start_date’, ‘startDate’, ‘Start Date’ and so on. The danger in this is that upon exchange the receiving tool might not recognise this if it is using, say, ‘startDate’.
I’ve therefore created a document titled ‘TRAK. Implementation. Architecture Description Elements’. To put it into context a couple of diagrams (produced using the OmniGraffle stencil for TRAK):
The document is at http://sourceforge.net/projects/trak/files/Implement%20TRAK/
The purpose of this document is therefore to standardise the naming of the architecture description elements used in any implementation of TRAK, whether graphical or text-based.
In addition to naming this document also specifies the formats used for attributes such as text, language labels, geographic location and uniform resource identifier. It also identifies the allowed values where an enumerated list specified for an attribute.
None of this guarantees successful exchange - in a UML modelling tool there will be an extra wrapping applied through XMI which might be at a different version in the sending and receiving tool and in addition even if an element has the same name it might mean something completely different in each. This document is therefore one part of a set of normative measures needed to maximise the chances of successful interoperability between a pair of tools.
There are a couple of things still left to do, not the least of which is figure out how to specify privacy marking / security descriptor schemes. If anyone knows of any good standards-like sources for these please let me know.
Any constructive comments via the Sourceforge Tracker set up for implementation of TRAK at https://sourceforge.net/tracker/?group_id=393432&atid=2376222
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