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MDA Explained: The Model Driven Architecture™: Practice and Promise

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MDA Explained: The Model Driven Architecture™: Practice and Promise


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  • Copyright 2003
  • Dimensions: 7-3/8x9-1/4
  • Pages: 192
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-19442-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-19442-8

"Jos Warmer’s work has contributed greatly to the semantics of the UML. From that perspective, and in this book, he offers insight on how one can and can’t use the UML to move to the next level of abstraction in building systems."
—Grady Booch

Experienced application developers often invest more time in building models than they do in actually writing code. Why? Well-constructed models make it easier to deliver large, complex enterprise systems on time and within budget. Now, a new framework advanced by the Object Management Group (OMG) allows developers to build systems according to their core business logic and data—independently of any particular hardware, operating system, or middleware.

Model Driven Architecture (MDA) is a framework based on the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and other industry standards for visualizing, storing, and exchanging software designs and models. However, unlike UML, MDA promotes the creation of machine-readable, highly abstract models that are developed independently of the implementation technology and stored in standardized repositories. There, they can be accessed repeatedly and automatically transformed by tools into schemas, code skeletons, test harnesses, integration code, and deployment scripts for various platforms.

Written by three members of OMG’s MDA standardization committee, MDA Explained gives readers an inside look at the advantages of MDA and how they can be realized. This book begins with practical examples that illustrate the application of different types of models. It then shifts to a discussion at the meta-level, where developers will gain the knowledge necessary to define MDA tools.

Highlights of this book include:

  • The MDA framework, including the Platform Independent Model (PIM) and Platform Specific Model (PSM)
  • OMG standards and the use of UML
  • MDA and Agile, Extreme Programming, and Rational Unified Process (RUP) development
  • How to apply MDA, including PIM-to-PSM and PSM-to-code transformations for Relational, Enterprise JavaBean (EJB), and Web models
  • Transformations, including controlling and tuning, traceability, incremental consistency, and their implications
  • Metamodeling
  • Relationships between different standards, including Meta Object Facility (MOF), UML, and Object Constraint Language (OCL)

    The advent of MDA offers concrete ways to improve productivity, portability, interoperability, maintenance, and documentation dramatically. With this groundbreaking book, IT professionals can learn to tap this new framework to deliver enterprise systems most efficiently.


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    Table of Contents


    Who Should Read This Book.

    How This Book Should Be Used.

    Typeface Conventions.

    Information on Related Subjects.

    Book Support and Example Implementation.


    1: The MDA Development Process.

    Traditional Software Development.

    The Productivity Problem.

    The Portability Problem.

    The Interoperability Problem.

    The Maintenance and Documentation Problem.

    The Model Driven Architecture.

    The MDA Development Life Cycle.

    Automation of the Transformation Steps.

    MDA Benefits.




    Maintenance and Documentation.

    MDA Building Blocks.


    2: The MDA Framework.

    What Is a Model?

    Relationships between Models.

    Types of Models.

    Business and Software Model.

    Structural and Dynamic Models.

    Platform Independent and Platform Specific Models.

    The Target Platforms of a Model.

    What is a Transformation?

    Transformations between Identical Languages.

    The Basic MDA Framework.


    Public and Private Attributes.



    3: MDA Today.

    OMG Standards.

    OMG Languages.

    OMG Language and Transformation Definitions.

    UML as PIM Language.

    Plain UML.

    Executable UML.

    UML-OCL Combination.


    Support for Transformations.

    Categorizing Tools.

    Development Processes.

    Agile Software Development.

    Extreme Programming.

    Rational Unified Process (RUP).


    4: Rosa's Application of MDA.

    Rosa's Breakfast Service.

    The Business.

    The Software System.

    Applying the MDA Framework.

    The PIM and PSMs.

    The PIM to PSM Transformations.

    The PSM to Code Model Transformations.

    Three Levels of Abstraction.

    The PIM in Detail.


    5: Rosa's PIM to Three PSMs.

    The PIM to Relational Transformation.

    The PIM to EJB Transformation.

    A Coarse Grained EJB Model.

    The Transformation Rules.

    The PIM to Web Transformation.

    The Transformation Rules.

    The Communication Bridges.


    6: Rosa's PSMs to Code.

    Relational Model to Code Transformation.

    EJB Model to Code Transformation.

    Some Remarks on EJB Code.

    The Transformation Rules.

    The Web Model to Code Transformation.

    The Structure of the Web Code.

    The Transformation Rules.


    7: More on Transformations.

    Desired Features of Transformations.

    Controlling and Tuning Transformations.

    Manual Control.

    Conditions on Transformations.

    Transformation Parameters.

    Additional Information.


    Incremental Consistency.


    Implications on Transformations.

    Transformation Parameters.

    Persistent Source-Target Relationship.

    Transformation Rules as Objects.


    8: Metamodeling.

    Introduction to Metamodeling.

    The Four Modeling Layers of the OMG.

    Layer M0: The Instances.

    Layer M1: The Model of the System.

    Layer M2: The Model of the Model.

    Layer M3: The Model of M2.

    Getting Rid of the Layers.

    The Use of Metamodeling in the MDA.

    The Extended MDA Framework.


    9: Defining Your Own Transformations.

    Transformations Definitions Revisited.

    The Transformation Definition Language.

    Requirements for a Transformation Rule.

    A Notation for Transformation Rules.

    Transformation Definitions.

    Example Transformation Definitions.

    Public and Private Attributes.



    Finishing the Transformation Definition.

    The Complete MDA Framework.


    10: Rosa's Transformation Definitions.

    The UML to Relational Mapping.

    Transformation Rules for UML to Relational Model.

    Completion of the Relational Model.

    The UML to EJB Mapping.

    Additional Operations.

    The UML to Web Mapping.


    11: OMG Standards and Additional Technologies.


    The MOF.

    yMOF Tools.

    The Role of the MOF in MDA.

    Query, Views, and Transformations.


    The UML Metamodel.

    The Role of UML in MDA.


    Using OCL with UML.

    Using OCL with the MOF.

    The Role of OCL in MDA.

    The UML Action Semantics.


    UML Profiles.

    The Role of Profiles in MDA.


    12: The MDA Promise.

    The MDA Paradigm Shift.

    A Historic Perspective.

    A Shift of Focus.

    Too Good to Be True?

    The Development Process.

    The Tools.

    The Modeling Languages.


    Appendix A: Glossary.

    Appendix B: The Code for Rosa's System.

    The SQL Code for Rosa's System.

    The EJB Code for Rosa's System.

    The JSP Code for Rosa's System.


    Index. 032119442XT04072003


    For many years, the three of us have been developing software using object oriented techniques. We started with object oriented programming languages, like C++, Smalltalk, and Eiffel. Soon we felt the need to describe our software at a higher level of abstraction. Even before the first object oriented analysis and design methods, like Coad/Yourdon and OMT, were published, we used our own invented bubbles and arrows diagrams. This naturally led to questions like “What does this arrow mean?” and “What is the difference between this circle and that rectangle?”. We therefore rapidly decided to use the newly emerging methods to design and describe our software. During the years we found that we were spending more time on designing our models, than on writing code. The models helped us to cope with larger and more complex systems. Having a good model of the software available, made the process of writing code easier and in many cases even straightforward.

    In 1997 some of us got involved in defining the first standard for object oriented modeling called UML. This was a major milestone that stimulated the use of modeling in the software industry. When the OMG launched its initiative on Model Driven Architecture we felt that this was logically the next step to take. People try to get more and more value from their high level models, and the MDA approach supports these efforts.

    At that moment we realized that all these years we had naturally walked the path towards model driven development. Every bit of wisdom we acquired during our struggle with the systems we had to build, fitted in with this new idea of how to build software. It caused a feeling similar to an AHA-erlebnis: “Yes, this is it,” the same feeling we had years before when we first encountered the object-oriented way of thinking, and again when we first read the GOF book on design patterns. We feel that MDA could very well be the next major step forward in the way software is being developed. MDA brings the focus of software development to a higher level of abstraction, thereby raising the level of maturity of the IT industry.

    We are aware of the fact that the grand vision of MDA, which Richard Soley, the president of the OMG, presents so eloquently, is not yet a reality. However some parts of MDA can already be used today, while others are under development. With this book we want to give you insight in what MDA means and what you can achieve, both today and in the future.

    Anneke Kleppe, Jos Warmer, and Wim Bast
    Soest, the Netherlands
    January 2003



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