The Open Group SOA Ontology

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The Open Group SOA Ontology

Chris Harding-2




Hi -

For some time now, The Open Group has been developing a formal
ontology for SOA. We made an early version available for comment by
W3C members over a year ago. We have now reached the stage where we
believe that it is almost complete, and are exposing it to outside
bodies for review and comment prior to its final review within The Open Group.

The ontology is a formal OWL ontology, but the draft also includes
extensive heuristic explanations of its concepts. We believe that it
complements work on OWL-S and WSMO, in that it includes a compatible
concept of "Service" and relates this to concepts in other areas,
including Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Modeling.

The draft is publicly available at
http://www.opengroup.org/projects/soa-ontology/doc.tpl?gdid=16940  We
would very much appreciate your input, not only on the relation of
this work to OWL-S and WSMO, but on all aspects that are of interest
to you. We will address comments received at this stage before
creating the draft for final Open Group review. I therefore invite
you to review the draft, and to send me comments on it.

Regards,

Chris
++++

========================================================================
Dr. Christopher J. Harding
Forum Director for SOA and Semantic Interoperability
THE OPEN GROUP
Thames Tower, 37-45 Station Road, Reading RG1 1LX, UK
Mailto:[hidden email] Phone (mobile): +44 774 063 1520
http://www.opengroup.org
========================================================================
The Open Group Conference & Member Meeting
Featuring the 19th Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference
InterContinental Hotel, Chicago, USA, July 21-25, 2008
http://www.opengroup.org/chicago2008/
========================================================================
TOGAF is a trademark of The Open Group



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Re: The Open Group SOA Ontology

AzamatAbdoullaev




On Tuesday, July 15, 2008 4:27 PM, Chris Harding wrote:
> We would very much appreciate your input, not only on the relation of this
> work to OWL-S and WSMO, but on all aspects that are of interest to you. We
> will address comments received at this stage before creating the draft for
> final Open Group review. I therefore invite you to review the draft, and
> to send me comments on it.

Chris,

You are doing a big and useful service for the public, researching the
nature of service. What is service is still a blind spot for economics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_%28economics%29, not mentioning its
ontological issue.

Re. your report. There is still a room for improvement, imho. Just two
comments.



The first one, how one should take this basic definition: ''a service is a
logical representation of a repeatable business activity that has a
specified outcome.'' Why its genus ''a logical representation''? If you
speak of the service as a model, it is one thing. If the service in general,
it is a wholly different situation. Again, why its deferentia is chosen as
''a repeatable business activity that has a specified outcome''. The same
can be applied to fishing, mining, agriculture (the primary industry) or
manufacturing (the secondary industry) as well. A service is a complex
business process, involving a service provider (agency) with its skill,
experience, ingenuity, or expertise and service customer delivered
intangible goods: new knowledge, learning, information, advice, experience,
plan of actions, defence, safety, care, and other life necessities (food,
shelter, utilities). So an adequate service definition is supposed to cover
all its connotations: from child care services to marriage services to
religious and burial services.



The second comment re. ontological statements, they could be worded more
carefully, imho. For instance, it is asserted, '' there can be changes and
events that are not effects of anything''. In fact, there are not such
changes and events, any of them always is either a cause or effect. This is
in the nature of changes.

As a suggestion, as a distinguishing characteristic may serve ' to satisfy
the requirements of the public, to perform the duties of the office, to
promote the interest of the customer, to be of use, utility, advantage,
benefit, good, purpose, profit or assistance, in some requested changes, in
the customer's knowing, physical possessions, tangible assets, etc.'.

Hope my commenting service will be of service to your job, so necessary for
all of us.


Azamat Abdoullaev
EIS Encyclopedic Intelligent Systems Ltd
http://www.eis.com.cy
http://www.igi-global.com/books/details.asp?id=7641;
http://www.amazon.com/Reality-Universal-Ontology-Knowledge-Systems/dp/159904966X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215177153&sr=8-1



----- Original Message -----
From: "Chris Harding" <[hidden email]>
To: <[hidden email]>; <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 4:27 PM
Subject: The Open Group SOA Ontology


>
> Hi -
>
> For some time now, The Open Group has been developing a formal ontology
> for SOA. We made an early version available for comment by W3C members
> over a year ago. We have now reached the stage where we believe that it is
> almost complete, and are exposing it to outside bodies for review and
> comment prior to its final review within The Open Group.
>
> The ontology is a formal OWL ontology, but the draft also includes
> extensive heuristic explanations of its concepts. We believe that it
> complements work on OWL-S and WSMO, in that it includes a compatible
> concept of "Service" and relates this to concepts in other areas,
> including Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Modeling.
>
> The draft is publicly available at
> http://www.opengroup.org/projects/soa-ontology/doc.tpl?gdid=16940  We
> would very much appreciate your input, not only on the relation of this
> work to OWL-S and WSMO, but on all aspects that are of interest to you. We
> will address comments received at this stage before creating the draft for
> final Open Group review. I therefore invite you to review the draft, and
> to send me comments on it.
>
> Regards,
>
> Chris
> ++++
>
> ========================================================================
> Dr. Christopher J. Harding
> Forum Director for SOA and Semantic Interoperability
> THE OPEN GROUP
> Thames Tower, 37-45 Station Road, Reading RG1 1LX, UK
> Mailto:[hidden email] Phone (mobile): +44 774 063 1520
> http://www.opengroup.org
> ========================================================================
> The Open Group Conference & Member Meeting
> Featuring the 19th Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference
> InterContinental Hotel, Chicago, USA, July 21-25, 2008
> http://www.opengroup.org/chicago2008/
> ========================================================================
> TOGAF is a trademark of The Open Group
>
>



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Re: The Open Group SOA Ontology

lautenbacher_flo
In reply to this post by Chris Harding-2




Dear Chris,

thanks for your email to the w3c-newsletter. I read the first time about the SOA ontology and think it's quite a good approach for describing all the concepts in an SOA. However, I got a few questions when I read through the specification where I think you might help me with:

-The SOA ontology says that it aims to be (potentially) a basis for model-driven implementation of an SOA. How shall this exactly be done? Are there several levels of the ontology defined in order to refine the ontology in several models or are you thinking about some automatical code generations (more general ontology at top level and an additional grounding to existing services lateron)?

-In other ontologies for web services there is often the notion of input, output, preconditions and effects (IOPE). There are effects in the SOA ontology, but no preconditions defined on a service? Is this on purpose?

-The effect is simply an OWL-DL-class. Are any languages envisioned for describing effects (such as KIF, SWRL, RuleML or R2ML)? - KIF and SWRL are e.g. used in OWL-S.

-Rules and Policies: are there links or recommendations to other languages that allow the specification of Rules (SBVR, SWRL, URML, etc.) or Policies (KAOS, Rei, Ponder2, etc.)?

-Is there a way to specify non-functional properties of a service (Quality of service, costs, etc.)? Not only for software services, but also for other services this would be quite interesting (Joe's car wash does always cost $5, except on Sunday then it's $7)

-How is a contract detailed? Are there any mandatory properties that need to be described? (e.g. costs)

-Solutions: In the context of services one often talks about goals that need to be achieved by the composition of services. And this composition is then normally a possible solution. However, in your ontology I don't find any correspondence between solution and composition (or the notion of goal itself).

-Are there constructs that define how a composition of services (in your terminology a system) shall be achieved? (sequences, alternative flows, etc.)? I didn't find any.

-The part about requirements, design and implementation in my opinion is not that specific for an SOA. Are there thoughts to describe this in an own ontology (as e.g. the Software Process Engineering Metamodel, SPEM, simply focuses on these parts, too) and simply integrate this other ontology into the SOA ontology?

-Concerning the messages and message types: how is the relationship thought to WSDL or SAWSDL? Are there already examples how WSDL (or better annotated WSDL like SAWSDL) can be combined with the SOA ontology?

-How is the relationship to business process modeling standards such as BPMN? You mentioned that the SOA ontology related the Service to other areas such as business process modeling but not exactly how.

-Figure 25: Architecture Building Block is an abstraction of Anything? How can the concept of "Anything" be abstracted? Probably the arrow might go the other direction?

-How is the Architecture Development Activity linked to the Design? There is no connection in your specification, but probably it might be part of the design (as is the development of an architecture often during the design phase in software engineering)

-A question not about the concepts in the SOA ontology: Why didn't you use UML class diagrams in your models? That would make it much easier (at least for software engineers) to understand what they are about...

Thanks for clarification and best regards,

Florian


---------------------------------------
 Dipl.-Inf. Florian Lautenbacher

 Programming Distributed Systems Lab
 Institute of Computer Science
 University of Augsburg
 Universitätsstr. 14
 86135 Augsburg, Germany

 phone:  +49 821 598-3102
 fax:    +49 821 598-2175
 



-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 14:27:25 +0100
> Von: Chris Harding <[hidden email]>
> An: [hidden email], [hidden email]
> Betreff: The Open Group SOA Ontology

>
> Hi -
>
> For some time now, The Open Group has been developing a formal
> ontology for SOA. We made an early version available for comment by
> W3C members over a year ago. We have now reached the stage where we
> believe that it is almost complete, and are exposing it to outside
> bodies for review and comment prior to its final review within The Open
> Group.
>
> The ontology is a formal OWL ontology, but the draft also includes
> extensive heuristic explanations of its concepts. We believe that it
> complements work on OWL-S and WSMO, in that it includes a compatible
> concept of "Service" and relates this to concepts in other areas,
> including Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Modeling.
>
> The draft is publicly available at
> http://www.opengroup.org/projects/soa-ontology/doc.tpl?gdid=16940  We
> would very much appreciate your input, not only on the relation of
> this work to OWL-S and WSMO, but on all aspects that are of interest
> to you. We will address comments received at this stage before
> creating the draft for final Open Group review. I therefore invite
> you to review the draft, and to send me comments on it.
>
> Regards,
>
> Chris
> ++++
>
> ========================================================================
> Dr. Christopher J. Harding
> Forum Director for SOA and Semantic Interoperability
> THE OPEN GROUP
> Thames Tower, 37-45 Station Road, Reading RG1 1LX, UK
> Mailto:[hidden email] Phone (mobile): +44 774 063 1520
> http://www.opengroup.org
> ========================================================================
> The Open Group Conference & Member Meeting
> Featuring the 19th Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference
> InterContinental Hotel, Chicago, USA, July 21-25, 2008
> http://www.opengroup.org/chicago2008/
> ========================================================================
> TOGAF is a trademark of The Open Group
>

--
Psssst! Schon das coole Video vom GMX MultiMessenger gesehen?
Der Eine für Alle: http://www.gmx.net/de/go/messenger03


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Re: The Open Group SOA Ontology

Chris Harding-2
In reply to this post by Chris Harding-2




Hello, Florian -

Thanks for your comments! Our ontology project
team will consider them in developing the draft for formal review.

I would also like to post them publicly so that
the debate on these and other comments can be
conducted by everyone. Would you have a problem with this?

I'll give initial responses to your comments
below. A general point is that the ontology
touches on several different topics, but does not
go into detail on any of them. It would clearly
not be able to go into detail on all of them, and
to address some in detail but not others would
make the ontology rather unbalanced. What we
would ideally like to do is to establish
formally-defined relations with OWL ontologies in
all of these areas. Unfortunately, they mostly
don't yet have formal ontologies. Web services is
an exception, and we do want to work on defining
the formal relationship between this ontology and
OWL-S. But for other areas, such as effects,
rules, policies, QoS, costs, and contracts,
well-developed and accepted OWL ontologies do not exist, so far as I know.

At 15:59 18/07/2008, Florian Lautenbacher wrote:

>Dear Chris,
>
>thanks for your email to the w3c-newsletter. I
>read the first time about the SOA ontology and
>think it's quite a good approach for describing
>all the concepts in an SOA. However, I got a few
>questions when I read through the specification
>where I think you might help me with:
>
>-The SOA ontology says that it aims to be
>(potentially) a basis for model-driven
>implementation of an SOA. How shall this exactly
>be done? Are there several levels of the
>ontology defined in order to refine the ontology
>in several models or are you thinking about some
>automatical code generations (more general
>ontology at top level and an additional
>grounding to existing services lateron)?

The aim is that the ontology should potentially
be a basis for model-driven implementation. We
have not developed a formal process for using it
for this purpose. I am aware of work that has
been done to generate WSDL service definitions
automatically from business domain ontologies.
The SOA ontology could be used in conjunction
with business-domain ontologies to do this
consistently. Generatng full service
implementations is much harder than generating
the interface definitions and would need
extensions to the ontology. We haven't explored
this yet. Work in this area is much more advanced
in the OMG. They do not use ontologies as such,
but their approach does have some relation to
ontologies. Exploring and developing this
relation is probably the best way forward.


>-In other ontologies for web services there is
>often the notion of input, output, preconditions
>and effects (IOPE). There are effects in the SOA
>ontology, but no preconditions defined on a service? Is this on purpose?

See the initial comment. We would prefer to link
to other ontologies that have these concepts
rather than incorporate them in ours.


>-The effect is simply an OWL-DL-class. Are any
>languages envisioned for describing effects
>(such as KIF, SWRL, RuleML or R2ML)? - KIF and SWRL are e.g. used in OWL-S.

Again, see the initial comment.


>-Rules and Policies: are there links or
>recommendations to other languages that allow
>the specification of Rules (SBVR, SWRL, URML,
>etc.) or Policies (KAOS, Rei, Ponder2, etc.)?

And again.


>-Is there a way to specify non-functional
>properties of a service (Quality of service,
>costs, etc.)? Not only for software services,
>but also for other services this would be quite
>interesting (Joe's car wash does always cost $5, except on Sunday then it's $7)

And again. It could be that part of the TMF's
NGOSS framework could be translated to a formal
ontology with some of these concepts.


>-How is a contract detailed? Are there any
>mandatory properties that need to be described? (e.g. costs)

Again, we don't have detail on this - and would
look to link to outside sources for such detail.


>-Solutions: In the context of services one often
>talks about goals that need to be achieved by
>the composition of services. And this
>composition is then normally a possible
>solution. However, in your ontology I don't find
>any correspondence between solution and
>composition (or the notion of goal itself).

We don't have a notion of goal, but we do have a
notion of requirement, and a solution is
something that satisfies a requirement. We do, in
section 4.8, define Orchestration and
Choreography subclasses of the Composition class,
to address two important kinds of service
composition. The Solution and Composition classes
are not disjoint, so a composition can be a solution.

>-Are there constructs that define how a
>composition of services (in your terminology a
>system) shall be achieved? (sequences,
>alternative flows, etc.)? I didn't find any.

No, there are no such constructs. These are
probably among the things that would need to be
added if the ontology is to be used to drive full
model-driven implementation. Again, though, we
would prefer to link to another ontology (perhaps
based on BPMN?) that has these constructs, if one exists.


>-The part about requirements, design and
>implementation in my opinion is not that
>specific for an SOA. Are there thoughts to
>describe this in an own ontology (as e.g. the
>Software Process Engineering Metamodel, SPEM,
>simply focuses on these parts, too) and simply
>integrate this other ontology into the SOA ontology?

We would have liked to import these from another
ontology, but did not identify an appropriate
one, and needed these concepts to explain others
in the ontology. I understand that SPEM provides
a means of describing activities, and there is in
fact work elsewhere in The Open Group to use SPEM
to model the phases of the Architecture
Development Method of The Open Group Architecture
Framework (TOGAF). From the point of view of our
ontology, we don't analyse these phases in the
way that the SPEM work does - we simply classify
them as instances of the Architecture Development Activity class.


>-Concerning the messages and message types: how
>is the relationship thought to WSDL or SAWSDL?
>Are there already examples how WSDL (or better
>annotated WSDL like SAWSDL) can be combined with the SOA ontology?

My understanding is that OWL-S incorporates WSDL
concepts. I would see defining the relationship
with OWL-S as the way of connecting our ontology
with WSDL (but more work is needed on this).

>-How is the relationship to business process
>modeling standards such as BPMN? You mentioned
>that the SOA ontology related the Service to
>other areas such as business process modeling but not exactly how.

I believe that our concept of Activity
corresponds closely to the BPMN concept of
activity, and see BPMN as providing a detailed
analysis of concepts related to activity that we
don't cover. Again, more work is needed to explore this properly.


>-Figure 25: Architecture Building Block is an
>abstraction of Anything? How can the concept of
>"Anything" be abstracted? Probably the arrow might go the other direction?

We use "Anything" as shorthand for "an instance
of the OWL Thing class" - ie, anything in the
universe of discourse. We are not saying that the
concept of "anything" can be abstracted. We are
saying that an abstraction of anything in the
universe of discourse can be an ABB. So if
"car-wash machine" is something in the universe
of discourse, then "abstraction of car-wash machine" can be an ABB.


>-How is the Architecture Development Activity
>linked to the Design? There is no connection in
>your specification, but probably it might be
>part of the design (as is the development of an
>architecture often during the design phase in software engineering)

The relation between architecture and design is
somewhat difficult to capture. As you point out,
we haven't tried. But we don't preclude a
relation. An architecture cannot be a design
(because Architecture is disjoint with
Abstraction, of which Design is a subclass). But
I dont think there is any reason why a design
shouldn't be an ABB, for example, or why a Design
Activity shouldn't be a component of an
Architecture Development Activity. If someone
comes up with a specific need to establish this
connection, we might explore this further, but we
wouldn't want to do so otherwise.


>-A question not about the concepts in the SOA
>ontology: Why didn't you use UML class diagrams
>in your models? That would make it much easier
>(at least for software engineers) to understand what they are about...

This is a good question. We haven't really
considered using UML, but perhaps we should think about doing so.

>Thanks for clarification and best regards,

Thanks again for your very perceptive comments!


>Florian
>
>
>---------------------------------------
>  Dipl.-Inf. Florian Lautenbacher
>
>  Programming Distributed Systems Lab
>  Institute of Computer Science
>  University of Augsburg
>  Universitätsstr. 14
>  86135 Augsburg, Germany
>
>  phone:  +49 821 598-3102
>  fax:    +49 821 598-2175
>
>
>
>
>-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> > Datum: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 14:27:25 +0100
> > Von: Chris Harding <[hidden email]>
> > An: [hidden email], [hidden email]
> > Betreff: The Open Group SOA Ontology
>
> >
> > Hi -
> >
> > For some time now, The Open Group has been developing a formal
> > ontology for SOA. We made an early version available for comment by
> > W3C members over a year ago. We have now reached the stage where we
> > believe that it is almost complete, and are exposing it to outside
> > bodies for review and comment prior to its final review within The Open
> > Group.
> >
> > The ontology is a formal OWL ontology, but the draft also includes
> > extensive heuristic explanations of its concepts. We believe that it
> > complements work on OWL-S and WSMO, in that it includes a compatible
> > concept of "Service" and relates this to concepts in other areas,
> > including Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Modeling.
> >
> > The draft is publicly available at
> > http://www.opengroup.org/projects/soa-ontology/doc.tpl?gdid=16940 We
> > would very much appreciate your input, not only on the relation of
> > this work to OWL-S and WSMO, but on all aspects that are of interest
> > to you. We will address comments received at this stage before
> > creating the draft for final Open Group review. I therefore invite
> > you to review the draft, and to send me comments on it.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Chris
> > ++++
> >
> > ========================================================================
> > Dr. Christopher J. Harding
> > Forum Director for SOA and Semantic Interoperability
> > THE OPEN GROUP
> > Thames Tower, 37-45 Station Road, Reading RG1 1LX, UK
> > Mailto:[hidden email] Phone (mobile): +44 774 063 1520
> > http://www.opengroup.org
> > ========================================================================
> > The Open Group Conference & Member Meeting
> > Featuring the 19th Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference
> > InterContinental Hotel, Chicago, USA, July 21-25, 2008
> > http://www.opengroup.org/chicago2008/
> > ========================================================================
> > TOGAF is a trademark of The Open Group
> >
>
>--
>Psssst! Schon das coole Video vom GMX MultiMessenger gesehen?
>Der Eine für Alle: http://www.gmx.net/de/go/messenger03


Regards,

Chris
++++

========================================================================
Dr. Christopher J. Harding
Forum Director for SOA and Semantic Interoperability
THE OPEN GROUP
Thames Tower, 37-45 Station Road, Reading RG1 1LX, UK
Mailto:[hidden email] Phone (mobile): +44 774 063 1520
http://www.opengroup.org
========================================================================
The Open Group Conference & Member Meeting
Featuring the 19th Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference
InterContinental Hotel, Chicago, USA, July 21-25, 2008
http://www.opengroup.org/chicago2008/
========================================================================
TOGAF is a trademark of The Open Group