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  • Enforcement of conceptual schema quality issues in current integrated development environments

     Aguilera Moncusi, David; Gómez Seoane, Cristina; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering
    Presentation's date: 2013-06-21
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    We believe that one of the most effective ways of increasing the quality of conceptual schemas in practice is by using an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that enforces all relevant quality criteria. With this view, in this paper we analyze the support provided by current IDEs in the enforcement of quality criteria and we compare it with the one that could be provided given the current state of the art. We show that there is a large room for improvement. We introduce the idea of a unified catalog that would include all known quality criteria. We present an initial version of this catalog. We then evaluate the effectiveness of the additional support that could be provided by the current IDEs if they enforced all the quality criteria defined in the catalog. We focus on conceptual schemas written in UML/OCL, although our approach could be applied to other languages.

  • Former students' perception of improvement potential of conceptual modeling in practice

     Tort Pugibet, Albert; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Pastor Collado, Juan Antonio
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2013-11-11
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    Several authors have pointed out a signicant gap between Conceptual Modeling (CM) theory and practice. It is then natural that we try to nd answers to questions such as: What is the nature of the gap? Which is the magnitude of the gap? Why does the gap exist? and What could be done to narrow the gap? In this paper, we try to answer those questions from the point of view of the former students of a Requirements Engineering and Conceptual Modeling course that have been involved in professional projects. We have surveyed over 70 former students to know how they perceive the degree to which a set of four conceptual modeling artifacts are created in practice, and how they perceive the improvement potential of the creation of those artifacts in practice. For each artifact, we asked a question on the use of the artifact, and one on the recommendation of use of the artifact. We believe that there may be an improvement opportunity of the CM practice when a signicant number of respondents would have recommended the creation of an artifact in the cases in which it was not created. We try to identify the reasons why the artifacts were not created, and what would be needed to convince stakeholders and developers to create the artifact, when it is recommended to do it.

  • A complete set of guidelines for naming UML conceptual schema elements

     Aguilera Moncusi, David; Gómez Seoane, Cristina; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Data and knowledge engineering
    Date of publication: 2013-11-01
    Journal article

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    We focus on the problem of naming conceptual schema elements in UML, which is faced by conceptual modelers every time they define a new element that requires a name. The problem is significant because in general there are many elements that require a name, and the names given have a strong influence on the understandability of that schema. We propose a guideline for every kind of element to which a conceptual modeler may give a name in UML. The guideline comprises the grammar form of the name and a pattern sentence. A name complies with our guideline if it has that form and the sentence generated from the pattern sentence is grammatically well-formed and semantically meaningful. The main novelty of our proposal is that it is (as far as we know) the first that provides a naming guideline for each kind of element of conceptual schemas in UML.

  • Lightweight and Static Verification of UML Executable Models  Open access

     Planas Hortal, Elena
    Defense's date: 2013-03-21
    Department of Software, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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    Executable models play a key role in many development methods (such as MDD and MDA) by facilitating the immediate simulation/implementation of the software system under development. This is possible because executable models include a fine-grained specification of the system behaviour using an action language. Executable models are not a new concept but are now experiencing a comeback. As a relevant example, the OMG has recently published the first version of the “Foundational Subset for Executable UML Models” (fUML) standard, an executable subset of the UML that can be used to define, in an operational style, the structural and behavioural semantics of systems. The OMG has also published a beta version of the “Action Language for fUML” (Alf) standard, a concrete syntax conforming to the fUML abstract syntax, that provides the constructs and textual notation to specify the fine-grained behaviour of systems. The OMG support to executable models is substantially raising the interest of software companies for this topic. Given the increasing importance of executable models and the impact of their correctness on the final quality of software systems derived from them, the existence of methods to verify the correctness of executable models is becoming crucial. Otherwise, the quality of the executable models (and in turn the quality of the final system generated from them) will be compromised. Despite the number of research works targetting the verification of software models, their computational cost and poor feedback makes them difficult to integrate in current software development processes. Therefore, there is the need for efficient and useful methods to check the correctness of executable models and tools integrated to the modelling tools used by designers. In this thesis we propose a verification framework to help the designers to improve the quality of their executable models. Our framework is composed of a set of lightweight static methods, i.e. methods that do not require to execute the model in order to check the desired property. These methods are able to check several properties over the behavioural part of an executable model (for instance, over the set of operations that compose a behavioural executable model) such as syntactic correctness (i.e. all the operations in the behavioural model conform to the syntax of the language in which it is described), non-redundancy (i.e. there is no another operation with exactly the same behaviour), executability (i.e. after the execution of an operation, the reached system state is -in case of strong executability- or may be -in case of weak executability- consistent with the structural model and its integrity constraints) and completeness (i.e. all possible changes on the system state can be performed through the execution of the operations defined in the executable model). For incorrect models, the methods that compose our verification framework return a meaningful feedback that helps repairing the detected inconsistencies.

  • A Filtering Engine for Large Conceptual Schemas  Open access

     Villegas Niño, Antonio
    Defense's date: 2013-01-29
    Department of Software, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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  • On computing the importance of associations in large conceptual schemas

     Villegas Niño, Antonio; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera
    Date of publication: 2012-01-01
    Book chapter

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    The visualization and the understanding of large conceptual schemas require the use of specific methods. These methods generate clustered, summarized or focused schemas that are easier to visualize and to understand. All of these methods require computing the importance of the elements in the schema but, up to now, only the importance of entity types has been taken into account. In this paper, we present three methods for computing the importance of associations by taking into account the knowledge defined in the structural and behavioral parts of the schema. We experimentally evaluate these methods with large real-world schemas and present the main conclusions we have drawn from the experiments.

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    Understanding constraint expressions in large conceptual schemas by automatic filtering  Open access

     Villegas Niño, Antonio; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2012-10-15
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    Human understanding of constraint expressions (also called schema rules) in large conceptual schemas is very di cult. This is due to the fact that the elements (entity types, attributes, relationship types) involved in an expression are de ned in di fferent places in the schema, which may be very distant from each other and embedded in an intricate web of irrelevant elements. The problem is insignifi cant when the conceptual schema is small, but very signi cant when it is large. In this paper we describe a novel method that, given a set of constraint expressions and a large conceptual schema, automatically filters the conceptual schema, obtaining a smaller one that contains the elements of interest for the understanding of the expressions. We also show the application of the method to the important case of understanding the specication of event types, whose constraint expressions consists of a set of pre and postconditions. We have evaluated the method by means of its application to a set of large conceptual schemas. The results show that the method is eff ective and e cient. We deal with conceptual schemas in UML/OCL, but the method can be adapted to other languages.

  • A method for the definition and treatment of conceptual schema quality issues

     Aguilera Moncusi, David; Gómez Seoane, Cristina; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2012-10-17
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    n the literature, there are many proposals of quality properties of conceptual schemas, but only a few of them (mainly those related to syntax) have been integrated into the development environments used by professionals and students. A possible explanation of this unfortunate fact may be that the proposals have been defined in disparate ways, which makes it difficult to integrate them into those environments. In this paper we define quality properties in terms of quality issues, which essentially are conditions that should not happen, and we propose a unified method for their definition and treatment. We show that our method is able to define most of the existing quality properties in a uniform way and makes it possible to integrate quality issues into development environments. The method can be adapted to several languages. We present a prototype implementation of our method as an Eclipse plugin. We have evaluated the potential usefulness of our method by analyzing the presence of a set of quality issues in a set of conceptual schemas developed by students as part of their projects.

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    A web-based filtering engine for understanding event specifications in large conceptual schemas  Open access

     Villegas Niño, Antonio; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2012-10-16
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    A complete conceptual schema must include all relevant general static and dynamic aspects of an information system. Event types describe a nonempty set of allowed changes in the population of entity or relationship types in the domain of the conceptual schema. The conceptual schemas of many real-world information systems that include the speci cation of event types are too large to be easily managed or understood. There are many information system development activities in which people need to understand the eff ect of a set of events. We present an information filtering tool in which a user focuses on one or more event types of interest for her task at hand, and the tool automatically filters the schema in order to obtain a reduced conceptual schema that illustrates all the elements affected by the given events.

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    An approach to test-driven development of conceptual schemas  Open access

     Tort Pugibet, Albert; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera
    Jornadas de Ingenería del Software y Bases de Datos
    Presentation's date: 2012-09-18
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    The proposed method is applicable to different kinds of projects and may be integrated into existing software development methods when they are based on iterative paradigms and they include artifacts to specify conceptual schemas. TDCM can also be used even if the conceptual schema to be developed is the main purpose of the project. Using TDCM, conceptual modelers have at any time fully tested schemas

  • An Eclipse plugin for improving the quality of UML conceptual schemas

     Aguilera Moncusi, David; Gómez Seoane, Cristina; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2012-10-16
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    The development of an information system requires its conceptual schema to be of high quality. Classically, this quality comprises properties such as syntactic and semantic correctness, relevance, and completeness, but many other quality properties have been proposed in the literature. In this demonstration we integrate some published quality properties in Eclipse by extending the core functionalities of MDT. These properties include syntactic issues, naming guidelines, and best practices. A quality property is defined using OCL and is specified in an XML file. The set of quality properties included in our tool is available on an online public catalog that can be extended to include new quality properties. We use XSLT to present this catalog in a friendly manner to users that access it using a web browser.

  • On checking executable conceptual schema validity by testing

     Tort Pugibet, Albert; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera
    International Conference on Database and Expert Systems Applications
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    Ensuring the semantic quality of a conceptual schema is a fundamental goal in conceptual modeling. Conceptual schema testing is an emerging approach that helps to achieve this goal. In this paper, we focus on “what to test” and, more specifically, on the properties that test sets of conceptual schemas should have. We propose and formally define a set of four adequacy criteria which can be automatically checked in order to ensure, by testing, the necessary conditions for schema validity (correctness and relevance). The proposed criteria are independent from the languages of the schema and of the testing program. The criteria have been implemented in a prototype of a test processor able to execute test sets. The criteria have been applied to the test sets of large conceptual schemas.

  • TESTING AND TEST-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT OF CONCEPTUAL SCHEMAS  Open access

     Tort Pugibet, Albert
    Defense's date: 2012-04-11
    Department of Software, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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    The traditional focus for Information Systems (IS) quality assurance relies on the evaluation of its implementation. However, the quality of an IS can be largely determined in the first stages of its development. Several studies reveal that more than half the errors that occur during systems development are requirements errors. A requirements error is defined as a mismatch between requirements specification and stakeholders¿ needs and expectations. Conceptual modeling is an essential activity in requirements engineering aimed at developing the conceptual schema of an IS. The conceptual schema is the general knowledge that an IS needs to know in order to perform its functions. A conceptual schema specification has semantic quality when it is valid and complete. Validity means that the schema is correct (the knowledge it defines is true for the domain) and relevant (the knowledge it defines is necessary for the system). Completeness means that the conceptual schema includes all relevant knowledge. The validation of a conceptual schema pursues the detection of requirements errors in order to improve its semantic quality. Conceptual schema validation is still a critical challenge in requirements engineering. In this work we contribute to this challenge, taking into account that, since conceptual schemas of IS can be specified in executable artifacts, they can be tested. In this context, the main contributions of this Thesis are (1) an approach to test conceptual schemas of information systems, and (2) a novel method for the incremental development of conceptual schemas supported by continuous test-driven validation. As far as we know, this is the first work that proposes and implements an environment for automated testing of UML/OCL conceptual schemas, and the first work that explores the use of test-driven approaches in conceptual modeling. The testing of conceptual schemas may be an important and practical means for their validation. It allows checking correctness and completeness according to stakeholders¿ needs and expectations. Moreover, in conjunction with the automatic check of basic test adequacy criteria, we can also analyze the relevance of the elements defined in the schema. The testing environment we propose requires a specialized language for writing tests of conceptual schemas. We defined the Conceptual Schema Testing Language (CSTL), which may be used to specify automated tests of executable schemas specified in UML/OCL. We also describe a prototype implementation of a test processor that makes feasible the approach in practice. The conceptual schema testing approach supports test-last validation of conceptual schemas, but it also makes sense to test incomplete conceptual schemas while they are developed. This fact lays the groundwork of Test-Driven Conceptual Modeling (TDCM), which is our second main contribution. TDCM is a novel conceptual modeling method based on the main principles of Test-Driven Development (TDD), an extreme programming method in which a software system is developed in short iterations driven by tests. We have applied the method in several case studies, in the context of Design Research, which is the general research framework we adopted. Finally, we also describe an integration approach of TDCM into a broad set of software development methodologies, including the Unified Process development methodology, MDD-based approaches, storytest-driven agile methods and goal and scenario-oriented requirements engineering methods.

    Els enfocaments per assegurar la qualitat deis sistemes d'informació s'han basal tradicional m en! en l'avaluació de la seva implementació. No obstan! aix6, la qualitat d'un sis tema d'informació pot ser ampliament determinada en les primeres fases del seu desenvolupament. Diversos estudis indiquen que més de la meitat deis errors de software són errors de requisits . Un error de requisit es defineix com una desalineació entre l'especificació deis requisits i les necessitats i expectatives de les parts im plicades (stakeholders ). La modelització conceptual és una activitat essencial en l'enginyeria de requisits , l'objectiu de la qual és desenvolupar !'esquema conceptual d'un sistema d'informació. L'esquema conceptual és el coneixement general que un sistema d'informació requereix per tal de desenvolupar les seves funcions . Un esquema conceptual té qualitat semantica quan és va lid i complet. La valides a implica que !'esquema sigui correcte (el coneixement definit és cert peral domini) i rellevant (el coneixement definit és necessari peral sistema). La completes a significa que !'esquema conceptual inclou tot el coneixement rellevant. La validació de !'esquema conceptual té coma objectiu la detecció d'errors de requisits per tal de millorar la qualitat semantica. La validació d'esquemes conceptuals és un repte crític en l'enginyeria de requisits . Aquesta te si contribueix a aquest repte i es basa en el fet que els es quemes conceptuals de sistemes d'informació poden ser especificats en artefactes executables i, per tant, poden ser provats. Les principals contribucions de la te si són (1) un enfocament pera les pro ves d'esquemes conceptuals de sistemes d'informació, i (2) una metodología innovadora pel desenvolupament incremental d'esquemes conceptuals assistit per una validació continuada basada en proves . Les pro ves d'esquemes conceptuals poden ser una im portant i practica técnica pera la se va validació, jaque permeten provar la correctesa i la completesa d'acord ambles necessitats i expectatives de les parts interessades. En conjunció amb la comprovació d'un conjunt basic de criteris d'adequació de les proves, també podem analitzar la rellevancia deis elements definits a !'esquema. L'entorn de test proposat inclou un llenguatge especialitzat per escriure proves automatitzades d'esquemes conceptuals, anomenat Conceptual Schema Testing Language (CSTL). També hem descrit i implementa! a un prototip de processador de tes tos que fa possible l'aplicació de l'enfocament proposat a la practica. D'acord amb l'estat de l'art en validació d'esquemes conceptuals , aquest és el primer treball que proposa i implementa un entorn pel testing automatitzat d'esquemes conceptuals definits en UML!OCL. L'enfocament de proves d'esquemes conceptuals permet dura terme la validació d'esquemes existents , pero també té sentit provar es quemes conceptuals incomplets m entre estant sent desenvolupats. Aquest fet és la base de la metodología Test-Driven Conceptual Modeling (TDCM), que és la segona contribució principal. El TDCM és una metodología de modelització conceptual basada en principis basics del Test-Driven Development (TDD), un métode de programació en el qual un sistema software és desenvolupat en petites iteracions guiades per proves. També hem aplicat el métode en diversos casos d'estudi en el context de la metodología de recerca Design Science Research. Finalment, hem proposat enfocaments d'integració del TDCM en diverses metodologies de desenvolupament de software.

  • On checking executable conceptual schema validity by testing

     Tort Pugibet, Albert; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera
    Lecture notes in computer science
    Date of publication: 2012
    Journal article

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  • The CSTL processor: a tool for automated conceptual schema testing

     Tort Pugibet, Albert; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2011-10-31
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    In this demonstration paper, we present the CSTL Processor, a tool to support the validation of two fundamental quality properties of conceptual schemas (correctness and completeness) by testing. The CSTL Processor supports the management, execution and automatic computation of the verdicts of test cases which formalize stakeholders’ needs and expectations.

  • An Eclipse plugin for validating names in UML conceptual schemas

     Aguilera Moncusi, David; García Ranea, Raúl; Gómez Seoane, Cristina; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2011-10-31
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • A tool for filtering large conceptual schemas

     Villegas Niño, Antonio; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2011-10-31
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    The wealth of knowledge the conceptual schemas of many real-world information systems contain makes them very useful to their potential target audience. However, the sheer size of those schemas makes it difficult to extract knowledge from them. There are many information system development activities in which people needs to get a piece of the knowledge contained in a large conceptual schema. We present an information filtering tool in which a user focuses on one or more entity types of interest for her task at hand, and the tool automatically filters the schema in order to obtain a reduced conceptual schema including a set of entity and relationship types (and other knowledge) relevant to that task.

  • Validation of Mappings between Data Schemas  Open access

     Rull Fort, Guillem
    Defense's date: 2011-01-19
    Department of Software, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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    En esta tesis, presentamos un nuevo enfoque para validar mappings entre esquemas de datos que permite al diseñador comprobar si el mapping satisface o no ciertas propiedades deseables. La respuesta que obtiene el diseñador no se limita a un simple valor booleano, sino que dependiendo del resultado de la comprobación obtendrá un ejemplo/contraejemplo que ilustre ese resultado, o bien se le indicará el conjunto de restricciones de integridad de los esquemas y formulas del mapping responsables de ese resultado. Una de las características principales de nuestro enfoque es que es capaz de tratar una clase muy expresiva de mappings y esquemas relacionales. En particular, nuestro enfoque es capaz de tratar con formulas de mapping consistentes en inclusiones y igualdades de consultas, además de permitir el uso de negaciones y comparaciones aritméticas tanto en las propias formulas del mapping como en las vistas definidas en los esquemas. Nuestro enfoque también permite tratar restricciones de integridad, las cuales pueden estar definidas no solo sobre las tablas sino también sobre las vistas de los esquemas. Dado que razonar sobre este tipo de mappings y esquemas es, desafortunadamente, indecidible, proponemos realizar un test de terminación previo a la validación del mapping. Si el test de terminación da una respuesta positiva, entonces podremos estar seguros de que la posterior comprobación de la propiedad deseable correspondiente terminará. Finalmente, también extendemos nuestro enfoque más allá del caso relacional y lo aplicamos al contexto de mappings entre esquemas XML.

    In this thesis, we present a new approach to the validation of mappings between data schemas. It allows the designer to check whether the mapping satisfies certain desirable properties. The feedback that our approach provides to the designer is not only a Boolean answer, but either a (counter)example for the (un)satisfiability of the tested property, or the set of mapping assertions and schema constraints that are responsible for that (un)satisfiability. One of the main characteristics of our approach is that it is able to deal with a very expressive class of relational mapping scenarios; in particular, it is able to deal with mapping assertions in the form of query inclusions and query equalities, and it allows the use of negation and arithmetic comparisons in both the mapping assertions and the views of the schemas; it also allows for integrity constraints, which can be defined not only over the base relations but also in terms of the views. Since reasoning on the class of mapping scenarios that we consider is, unfortunately, undecidable, we propose to perform a termination test as a pre-validation step. If the answer of the test is positive, then checking the corresponding desirable property will terminate. We also go beyond the relational setting and study the application of our approach to the context of mappings between XML schemas.

  • An approach to test-driven development of conceptual schemas

     Tort Pugibet, Albert; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera
    Data and knowledge engineering
    Date of publication: 2011
    Journal article

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    Test-Driven Development (TDD) is an extreme programming development method in which a software system is developed in short iterations. In this paper we present the Test-Driven Conceptual Modeling (TDCM) method, which is an application of TDD for conceptual modeling, and we show how to develop a conceptual schema using it. In TDCM, a system's conceptual schema is incrementally obtained by performing three kinds of tasks: (1) Write a test the system should pass; (2) Change the schema to pass the test; and (3) Refactor the schema to improve its qualities. We also describe an integration approach of TDCM into a broad set of software development methodologies, including the Unified Process development methodology, the MDD-based approaches, the storytest-driven agile methods and the goal and scenario-oriented requirements engineering methods. We deal with schemas written in UML/OCL, but the TDCM method could be adapted to the development of schemas in other languages.

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    Improving the usability of HL7 information models by automatic filtering  Open access

     Villegas Niño, Antonio; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Vilalta, Josep
    IEEE World Congress on Services
    Presentation's date: 2010-07-07
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    The amount of knowledge represented in the Health Level 7 International (HL7) information models is very large. The sheer size of those models makes them very useful for the communities for which they are developed. However, the size of the models and their overall organization makes it difficult to manually extract knowledge from them. We propose to extract that knowledge by using a novel filtering method that we have developed. Our method is based on the concept of class interest as a combination of class importance and class closeness. The application of our method automatically obtains a filtered information model of the whole HL7 models according to the user preferences. We show that the use of a prototype tool that implements that method and produces such filtered model improves the usability of the HL7 models due to its high precision and low computational time.

  • A method for filtering large conceptual schemas

     Villegas Niño, Antonio; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2010-11-03
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    We focus on the problem of filtering a fragment of the knowledge contained in a large conceptual schema. The problem appears in many information systems development activities in which people need to operate with a piece of the knowledge contained in that schema. We propose a new method in which a user focuses on one or more entity types of interest for her task at hand, and the method automatically filters the schema in order to obtain a set of entity and relationship types (and other knowledge) relevant to that task, taking into account the interest of each entity type with respect to the focus, computed from the measures of importance and closeness of entity types. The method has been implemented in a prototype tool, and it has been experimented with the schema of the osCommerce and the ResearchCyc ontology.

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    Extending the methods for computing the importance of entity types in large conceptual schemas  Open access

     Villegas Niño, Antonio; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Journal of universal computer science
    Date of publication: 2010-11-01
    Journal article

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    Visualizing and understanding large conceptual schemas requires the use of specific methods. These methods generate clustered, summarized, or focused schemas that are easier to visualize and understand. All of these methods require computing the importance of each entity type in the schema. In principle, the totality of knowledge defined in the schema could be relevant for the computation of that importance but, up to now, only a small part of that knowledge has been taken into account. In this paper, we extend seven existing methods for computing the importance of entity types by taking into account more relevant knowledge defined in the structural and behavioural parts of the schema. We experimentally evaluate the original and extended versions of these methods with three large real-world schemas. We present the two main conclusions we have drawn from the experiments.

  • An approach to testing conceptual schemas

     Tort Pugibet, Albert; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Data and knowledge engineering
    Date of publication: 2010-06
    Journal article

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    Testing conceptual schema satisfiability  Open access

     Olive Ramon, Antoni; Tort Pugibet, Albert
    Date of publication: 2010-05-01
    Book chapter

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    The i* framework is a widespread formalism in the software engineering discipline that allows expressing intentionality of system actors. From the time it was issued, in the mid-nineties, a growing research community has adopted it either in its standard form or formulating variations in order to adapt it to some particular purpose. New methods, techniques and tools have made evolve the framework in a way that it may be currently considered quite mature from the scientific perspective. However, the i* framework has not been transferred to practitioners at the same extent yet: industrial experiences using i* are not many and have been mainly conducted by i* experts that are part of that very research community. Therefore, it may be argued that some steps are needed for boosting the adoption of i* by practitioners. In this chapter, we identify some scientific challenges whose overcoming could represent a step towards this goal. For each challenge, we present the problem that is addressed, its current state of the art and some envisaged lines of research.

  • Automating the multidimensional design of data warehouses  Open access

     Romero Moral, Oscar
    Defense's date: 2010-02-09
    Department of Software, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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    Les experiències prèvies en l'àmbit dels magatzems de dades (o data warehouse), mostren que l'esquema multidimensional del data warehouse ha de ser fruit d'un enfocament híbrid; això és, una proposta que consideri tant els requeriments d'usuari com les fonts de dades durant el procés de disseny.Com a qualsevol altre sistema, els requeriments són necessaris per garantir que el sistema desenvolupat satisfà les necessitats de l'usuari. A més, essent aquest un procés de reenginyeria, les fonts de dades s'han de tenir en compte per: (i) garantir que el magatzem de dades resultant pot ésser poblat amb dades de l'organització, i, a més, (ii) descobrir capacitats d'anàlisis no evidents o no conegudes per l'usuari.Actualment, a la literatura s'han presentat diversos mètodes per donar suport al procés de modelatge del magatzem de dades. No obstant això, les propostes basades en un anàlisi dels requeriments assumeixen que aquestos són exhaustius, i no consideren que pot haver-hi informació rellevant amagada a les fonts de dades. Contràriament, les propostes basades en un anàlisi exhaustiu de les fonts de dades maximitzen aquest enfocament, i proposen tot el coneixement multidimensional que es pot derivar des de les fonts de dades i, conseqüentment, generen massa resultats. En aquest escenari, l'automatització del disseny del magatzem de dades és essencial per evitar que tot el pes de la tasca recaigui en el dissenyador (d'aquesta forma, no hem de confiar únicament en la seva habilitat i coneixement per aplicar el mètode de disseny elegit). A més, l'automatització de la tasca allibera al dissenyador del sempre complex i costós anàlisi de les fonts de dades (que pot arribar a ser inviable per grans fonts de dades).Avui dia, els mètodes automatitzables analitzen en detall les fonts de dades i passen per alt els requeriments. En canvi, els mètodes basats en l'anàlisi dels requeriments no consideren l'automatització del procés, ja que treballen amb requeriments expressats en llenguatges d'alt nivell que un ordenador no pot manegar. Aquesta mateixa situació es dona en els mètodes híbrids actual, que proposen un enfocament seqüencial, on l'anàlisi de les dades es complementa amb l'anàlisi dels requeriments, ja que totes dues tasques pateixen els mateixos problemes que els enfocament purs.En aquesta tesi proposem dos mètodes per donar suport a la tasca de modelatge del magatzem de dades: MDBE (Multidimensional Design Based on Examples) and AMDO (Automating the Multidimensional Design from Ontologies). Totes dues consideren els requeriments i les fonts de dades per portar a terme la tasca de modelatge i a més, van ser pensades per superar les limitacions dels enfocaments actuals.1. MDBE segueix un enfocament clàssic, en el que els requeriments d'usuari són coneguts d'avantmà. Aquest mètode es beneficia del coneixement capturat a les fonts de dades, però guia el procés des dels requeriments i, conseqüentment, és capaç de treballar sobre fonts de dades semànticament pobres. És a dir, explotant el fet que amb uns requeriments de qualitat, podem superar els inconvenients de disposar de fonts de dades que no capturen apropiadament el nostre domini de treball.2. A diferència d'MDBE, AMDO assumeix un escenari on es disposa de fonts de dades semànticament riques. Per aquest motiu, dirigeix el procés de modelatge des de les fonts de dades, i empra els requeriments per donar forma i adaptar els resultats generats a les necessitats de l'usuari. En aquest context, a diferència de l'anterior, unes fonts de dades semànticament riques esmorteeixen el fet de no tenir clars els requeriments d'usuari d'avantmà.Cal notar que els nostres mètodes estableixen un marc de treball combinat que es pot emprar per decidir, donat un escenari concret, quin enfocament és més adient. Per exemple, no es pot seguir el mateix enfocament en un escenari on els requeriments són ben coneguts d'avantmà i en un escenari on aquestos encara no estan clars (un cas recorrent d'aquesta situació és quan l'usuari no té clares les capacitats d'anàlisi del seu propi sistema). De fet, disposar d'uns bons requeriments d'avantmà esmorteeix la necessitat de disposar de fonts de dades semànticament riques, mentre que a l'inversa, si disposem de fonts de dades que capturen adequadament el nostre domini de treball, els requeriments no són necessaris d'avantmà. Per aquests motius, en aquesta tesi aportem un marc de treball combinat que cobreix tots els possibles escenaris que podem trobar durant la tasca de modelatge del magatzem de dades.

    Previous experiences in the data warehouse field have shown that the data warehouse multidimensional conceptual schema must be derived from a hybrid approach: i.e., by considering both the end-user requirements and the data sources, as first-class citizens. Like in any other system, requirements guarantee that the system devised meets the end-user necessities. In addition, since the data warehouse design task is a reengineering process, it must consider the underlying data sources of the organization: (i) to guarantee that the data warehouse must be populated from data available within the organization, and (ii) to allow the end-user discover unknown additional analysis capabilities.Currently, several methods for supporting the data warehouse modeling task have been provided. However, they suffer from some significant drawbacks. In short, requirement-driven approaches assume that requirements are exhaustive (and therefore, do not consider the data sources to contain alternative interesting evidences of analysis), whereas data-driven approaches (i.e., those leading the design task from a thorough analysis of the data sources) rely on discovering as much multidimensional knowledge as possible from the data sources. As a consequence, data-driven approaches generate too many results, which mislead the user. Furthermore, the design task automation is essential in this scenario, as it removes the dependency on an expert's ability to properly apply the method chosen, and the need to analyze the data sources, which is a tedious and timeconsuming task (which can be unfeasible when working with large databases). In this sense, current automatable methods follow a data-driven approach, whereas current requirement-driven approaches overlook the process automation, since they tend to work with requirements at a high level of abstraction. Indeed, this scenario is repeated regarding data-driven and requirement-driven stages within current hybrid approaches, which suffer from the same drawbacks than pure data-driven or requirement-driven approaches.In this thesis we introduce two different approaches for automating the multidimensional design of the data warehouse: MDBE (Multidimensional Design Based on Examples) and AMDO (Automating the Multidimensional Design from Ontologies). Both approaches were devised to overcome the limitations from which current approaches suffer. Importantly, our approaches consider opposite initial assumptions, but both consider the end-user requirements and the data sources as first-class citizens.1. MDBE follows a classical approach, in which the end-user requirements are well-known beforehand. This approach benefits from the knowledge captured in the data sources, but guides the design task according to requirements and consequently, it is able to work and handle semantically poorer data sources. In other words, providing high-quality end-user requirements, we can guide the process from the knowledge they contain, and overcome the fact of disposing of bad quality (from a semantical point of view) data sources.2. AMDO, as counterpart, assumes a scenario in which the data sources available are semantically richer. Thus, the approach proposed is guided by a thorough analysis of the data sources, which is properly adapted to shape the output result according to the end-user requirements. In this context, disposing of high-quality data sources, we can overcome the fact of lacking of expressive end-user requirements.Importantly, our methods establish a combined and comprehensive framework that can be used to decide, according to the inputs provided in each scenario, which is the best approach to follow. For example, we cannot follow the same approach in a scenario where the end-user requirements are clear and well-known, and in a scenario in which the end-user requirements are not evident or cannot be easily elicited (e.g., this may happen when the users are not aware of the analysis capabilities of their own sources). Interestingly, the need to dispose of requirements beforehand is smoothed by the fact of having semantically rich data sources. In lack of that, requirements gain relevance to extract the multidimensional knowledge from the sources.So that, we claim to provide two approaches whose combination turns up to be exhaustive with regard to the scenarios discussed in the literature

  • ER Fellow

     Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Award or recognition

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  • n object-oriented approach to the translation between MOF metaschemas  Open access  awarded activity

     Raventós Pagès, Ruth
    Defense's date: 2009-02-27
    Department of Software, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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    Since the 1960s, many formal languages have been developed in order to allow software engineers to specify conceptual models and to design software artifacts. A few of these languages, such as the Unified Modeling Language (UML), have become widely used standards. They employ notations and concepts that are not readily understood by "domain experts," who understand the actual problem domain and are responsible for finding solutions to problems.The Object Management Group (OMG) developed the Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Rules (SBVR) specification as a first step towards providing a language to support the specification of "business vocabularies and rules." The function of SBVR is to capture business concepts and business rules in languages that are close enough to ordinary language, so that business experts can read and write them, and formal enough to capture the intended semantics and present them in a form that is suitable for engineering the automation of the rules.The ultimate goal of business rules approaches is to build software systems directly from vocabularies and rules. One way of reaching this goal, within the context of model-driven architecture (MDA), is to transform SBVR models into UML models. OMG also notes the need for a reverse engineering transformation between UML schemas and SBVR vocabularies and rules in order to validate UML schemas. This thesis proposes an automatic approach to translation between UML schemas and SBVR vocabularies and rules, and vice versa. It consists of the application of a new generic schema translation approach to the particular case of UML and SBVR.The main contribution of the generic approach is the extensive use of object-oriented concepts in the definition of translation mappings, particularly the use of operations (and their refinements) and invariants, both formalized in the Object Constraint Language (OCL). Translation mappings can be used to check that two schemas are translations of each other, and to translate one into the other, in either direction. Translation mappings are declaratively defined by means of preconditions, postconditions and invariants, and they can be implemented in any suitable language. The approach leverages the object-oriented constructs embedded in Meta Object Facility (MOF) metaschemas to achieve the goals of object-oriented software development in the schema translation problem.The generic schema translation approach and its application to UML schemas and SBVR vocabularies and rules is fully implemented in the UML-based Specification Environment (USE) tool and validated by a case study based on the conceptual schema of the Digital Bibliography & Library Project (DBLP) system.

  • On computing the importance of entity types in large conceptual schemas

     Villegas Niño, Antonio; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    International Conference on Conceptual Modeling
    Presentation's date: 2009-11-09
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    The visualization and the understanding of large conceptual schemas require the use of specific methods. These methods generate clustered, summarized or focused schemas that are easier to visualize and to understand. All of these methods require computing the importance of each entity type in the schema. In principle, the totality of knowledge defined in the schema could be relevant for the computation of that importance but, up to now, only a small part of that knowledge has been taken into account. In this paper, we extend six existing methods for computing the importance of entity types by taking into account all the relevant knowledge defined in the structural and behavioural parts of the schema. We experimentally evaluate the original and the extended versions of those methods with two large real-world schemas. We present the two main conclusions we have drawn from the experiments.

  • DISEÑO Y CONSTRUCCION DE UN ASISTENTE AL MODELADO CONCEPTUAL

     Pastor Collado, Juan Antonio; Tort Pugibet, Albert; Conesa Caralt, Jordi; Queralt Calafat, Anna; Sancho Samsó, Maria Ribera; Villegas Niño, Antonio; Raventós Pagès, Ruth; Gómez Seoane, Cristina; Costal Costa, Maria Dolors; Mayol Sarroca, Enric; Aguilera Moncusi, David; Olive Ramon, Antoni
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    First steps towards conceptual schema testing  Open access

     Tort Pugibet, Albert; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering
    Presentation's date: 2009-06-11
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    Like any software artifact, conceptual schemas of information systems can be tested. Testing conceptual schemas has some similarities with testing programs, but there are important differences. We present a list of six kinds of tests that can be applied to conceptual schemas. Some of them require complete schemas comprising both the structural and the behavioral parts, but we show that it is useful to test incomplete schema fragments. We introduce CSTL, a language for writing automated tests of executable schemas written in UML/OCL. We sketch the implementation of a test processor to automatically execute CSTL tests as many times as needed, following the style of the modern xUnit testing frameworks.

  • An object-oriented operation-based approach to translation between MOF metaschemas

     Raventós Pagès, Ruth; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Data and knowledge engineering
    Date of publication: 2008-12
    Journal article

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  • Pruning and Refactoring Ontologies in the Development of Conceptual Schemas of Information Systems

     Conesa Caralt, Jordi
    Defense's date: 2008-01-22
    Department of Software, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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  • Evolving Temporal Conceptual Schemas: The Reification Case

     Gómez Seoane, Cristina; Olive Ramon, Antoni; López, J R
    Date of publication: 2008-10
    Book chapter

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  • ER 2008: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CONCEPTUAL MODELING

     Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Participation in a competitive project

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  • 27TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CONCEPTUAL MODELING (ER 2008))

     Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Participation in a competitive project

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  • Conceptual modeling - er2008

    Date of publication: 2008-10-31
    Book

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  • A research agenda for conceptual schema-centric development

     Olive Ramon, Antoni; Jordi, Cabot
    Date of publication: 2007-06-30
    Book chapter

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  • 25th International Conference on Conceptual Modeling (ER 2006)

     Embley, D W; Olive Ramon, Antoni; Chen, P
    Data and knowledge engineering
    Date of publication: 2007-12
    Journal article

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  • Modeling events as entities in object-oriented conceptual modeling languages

     Olive Ramon, Antoni; Raventós Pagès, Ruth
    Data and knowledge engineering
    Date of publication: 2006-09
    Journal article

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  • A Method for Pruning Ontologies in the Development of Conceptual Schemas of Information Systems

     Conesa Caralt, Jordi; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Lecture notes in computer science
    Date of publication: 2006-01
    Journal article

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  • A method for the definition of integrity constraints in object-oriented conceptual modeling languages

     Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Data and knowledge engineering
    Date of publication: 2006-12
    Journal article

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  • Conceptual modeling - er2006

    Date of publication: 2006-11-30
    Book

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  • Construcción de un entorno integrado para el desarrollo centrado en el esquema conceptual de sistemas de información

     Olive Ramon, Antoni; Mayol Sarroca, Enric; Gómez Seoane, Cristina; Costal Costa, Maria Dolors; Raventós Pagès, Ruth
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  • Conceptual- Schema-Centric Development: A Grand Challenge for Information Systems Research

     Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Lecture notes in computer science
    Date of publication: 2005-06
    Journal article

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  • Definition of Events and Their Effects in Object-Oriented Conceptual Modeling Languages

     Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Lecture notes in computer science
    Date of publication: 2004-11
    Journal article

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  • Pruning Ontologies in the Development of Conceptual Schemas of Information Systems

     Conesa Caralt, Jordi; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Lecture notes in computer science
    Date of publication: 2004-11
    Journal article

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  • A General Method for Pruning OWL Ontologies

     Conesa Caralt, Jordi; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Lecture notes in computer science
    Date of publication: 2004-10
    Journal article

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  • On the role of conceptual schemas in Information systems development

     Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Lecture notes in computer science
    Date of publication: 2004-06
    Journal article

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  • Evolving Derived Entity Types in Conceptual Schemas in the UML

     Gómez Seoane, Cristina; Olive Ramon, Antoni
    Lecture notes in computer science
    Date of publication: 2003-06
    Journal article

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  • EVOLUCIÓ DE LES TAXONOMIES DE TIPUS D'ENTITAT EN ESQUEMES CONCEPTUALS EN UML

     Gómez Seoane, Cristina
    Defense's date: 2003-07-09
    Department of Software, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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