IFML 1.0: Interaction Flow Modeling Language approved by the OMG

After three years of work, IFML 1.0 is finally approved by the OMG!
The Interaction Flow Modeling Language was actually adopted one year ago, in March 2013, as Beta specification by the Object Management Group (OMG). Since then, the IFML Finalization Task Force worked hard to bring the specification to perfection.

The Object Management Group (OMG) Architecture Board approves the new IFML 1.0 standard on March 2014 in Reston, VA
The OMG Architecture Board gathered for approval of IFML. Among others, you can see Andrew Watson (OMG), Juergen Boldt (OMG), and representatives of IBM, 88Solutions, Adaptive, Fujitsu,  PrismTech and others.

Along the path, we got valuable feedback from implementors of the standard, spanning DSL tool vendors implementing the notation, UML tool vendors implementing the UML profile, and our own developers at WebRatio implementing the commercial industry-strenght modeling tool and code generators, as well as a bunch of opensource IFML editors. We also got feedback from WebRatio customers, which contributed to improve the language notation too.

All this summed up to 77 issues formally submitted to the OMG and subsequently addressed by the task force. The specification document, as well as the machine readable files (XMIs) have been cleaned up and prepared for final publication.
As a last step, the finalized version of the standard has been presented at the ADTF and at the Architecture Board of the OMG during the March technical meeting in Reston, VA, USA.
Version 1.0 is now officially adopted by the OMG. It’s just a matter of a few weeks before the final, copyedited version of the specification will be officially available on the OMG servers.
For documentation purposes, here is a snapshot of the program
Meanwhile, you can have a look at the sneak preview of the final version of IFML. Further details are available on the official www.ifml.org site.

As Stefano Butti, CEO of WebRatio said, IFML is one of the three biggest leaps in WebRatio history (together with the move to the US and the selection of WebRatio as Gartner Cool Vendor). Other vendors have already declared interest and/or started developing some modeling solution based on IFML. We look forward to wide adoption of this new standard, thanks also to the integration with other modeling aspects such as business modeling (with BPMN) and system modeling (with UML, SoaML, SysML, …)!

At the Reston event we also gave away the first copies ever of the very nice IFML Cheat Sheet (or Quick Reference Guide) prepared by WebRatio based on the official specification document.
The cheat sheet is available for free on the learning portal of WebRatio.

IFML CheatSheet - Quick Reference Guide and examples
The IFML cheat sheet: Quick Reference Guide and Examples (on the back side, not shown here).

Here is a small photo gallery of the event location, the WebRatio booth and the program of the AB plenary where IFML was adopted.

Reston
WebRatio boothOMG AB agenda for March 2014

 

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Sneak peek at IFML 1.0 (the Interaction Flow Modeling Language) by the OMG

IFML 1.0 is almost here!

As you may know by now, the OMG standard Interaction Flow Modeling Language (IFML) is designed for expressing the content, user interaction and control behaviour of the front-end (aka view) of software applications.

And if you don’t know anything about IFML, you can just visit www.ifml.org or have a look at this introductory presentation:

The round of refinement applied to IFML Beta 1 by the finalization task force (FTF) in OMG has been closed this week, as reported on the IFML OMG wiki.
The task force has addressed 77 issues raised by users and implementors in these months, and has compiled a new version of the IFML metamodel, UML profile, and specification document, currently labeled as Beta 2. This version is the candidate for the issuance of IFML 1.0.
Since I’ve been leading the task force efforts and I know how much improvement has been put in this new version of the language, I’m happy to share with you a preview of this new version, well before the official one will be released (tentative release date is April 2014)

A short summary of the changes is available in this presentation: Interaction Flow Modeling Language: updates on the Beta2 version – by the OMG IFML FTF.

The machine readable files are available too (metamodel, UML profile, and diagram interchange). Additional ancillary files (MagicDraw model sources, figures and so on) are available too.
Here is an example of IFML diagram you can draw with the new version. For instance, you can distinguish between throwing events (black circles) and catching events (while circles), and you have new concepts, such as «Menu».

 

IFML diagram example describing the UI of a mailbox, with possible actions on the messages, and event-driven on-screen notification of action results.

Related posts:

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IFML – the Interaction Flow Modeling Language, moves on to Beta2

After 6 months from its adoption, IFML moves on to a new, cleaned up version, named IFML Beta2.
The new version is the result of the feedback collected in these months from our partners, customers, researchers and developers, that are putting IFML at work in tools (primarily WebRatio) and at customers. This reality check phase is essential in the OMG adoption policy, as it acts as a validation for the standard.
For IFML, we collected (and addressed) 70+ issues. Although this meant a lot work, we are glad we got so much feedback.
The novelties of IFML Beta2 have been presented at OMG’s Technical Meeting in Santa Clara, CA, on December 11, 2013. They span various levels of details, starting from typo fixing, to better textual descriptions of the concepts, to solution of small mistakes in the metamodel and UML profile, up to some changes in the language concepts and notation. The latter are the most important aspects and they include:

  • Catching and Throwing events: the role of events in the model are now distinguished by two new concepts and different notations (catching events are represented by white circles, throwing events by black circles) 
  • Jump and Landing events: for letting throwing events of type Jump explicitly reference the target Landing events in the models 
  •  Menu ViewContainer: for describing interactive menus 
  • Module Definitions and Packages: for allowing defining reusable modules 
  • Generalization of the binding to the business logic and to the content model, thus letting IFML models reference also models different from UML ones 
  • Reference to BPMN: IFML modules can now explicitly refer to BPMN activities (meaning that the IFML model represents the implementation of the business activity). 
  • Context variables: variables can now be associated with the user context, for preserving the state of the application. 
  • Furthermore, the explicit list of allowed extensible concepts has been added. 

The status of the specification and the main metamodel changes are summarized in the presentation here below:

The new IFML Beta2 version will be released officially by OMG soon. The specification document will be available on the OMG site (I’ll let you know as soon as it is published).

Videos of the Webinars on IFML and its integration with BPMN and UML

Along with the effort of disseminating IFML all around the world, I also gave some online webinars on IFML (the Interaction Flow Modeling Language). If you are interested in learning the basics of the language and on its integration with BPMN and UML, together with the enabled code generation options, you may want to watch the following recordings of the webinars.

This is the last webinar, dedicated to IFML and to its use integrated with other modeling languages in the MDA suite, such as UML and BPMN. The webinar will introduce the basics of the IFML language and will demonstrate the advantages of using it together with BPMN diagrams, UML activity diagrams, sequence diagrams, and class diagrams. The tutorial shows that IFML is the missing piece for modeling the front end of software applications and perfectly complements other modeling dimensions in broad system modeling projects:

If you like, you can listen to it also in Italian (also presented by me) or in Spanish (speaker Matteo Silva).

The webinar video, only introducing IFML and the standardization experience, is available too:

//www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/5u6AVYclWao?version=3&hl=en_US

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The IFML tour

I hadn’t time to do that before, but I wanted to mention my last tour for disseminating IFML and WebRatio.
That happened last September. I spent one week traveling around the world, specifically:

Marco Brambilla visiting Shihong Huang at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL.
Myself and Shihong Huang at FAU.
  • Monday in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, discussing my experiences with IFML, BPMN, WebRatio at the CPSM 2013 (Workshop on Communicating Business Process and Software Models) I organized at the IEEE ICSM conference together with Irene Van Der Feesten and Dirk Fahaland.
  • Tuesday in New Brunswick, NJ, USA, with a meeting on IFML and a booth at the OMG Technical Meeting.
  • Wednesday in Boca Raton, FL, USA, with a class to M.Sc. students and a seminar at the CS&E department of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), guest of Prof. Shihong Huang.
  • Thursday in Hoboken, NJ, USA visiting and discussing adoption of IFML at the Stevens Institute of Technology, guest of Michael Zur Muhelen, and in Brooklyn at the NYU-Poly.
  • Friday back to Milan, in a workshop with people from TU Delft, discussing possible integration of modeling approaches and IT solutions based on IFML in city management problems.

Well, an interesting week I would say 🙂 .
Upcoming trips for IFML evangelization include: L’Aquila (Italy), Genoa (Italy), Thessaloniki (Greece), and Luxembourg. I foresee another interesting closing of the year.

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Webinars on IFML and integration with UML and BPMN

Join the Webinar dedicated to IFML and its use integrated with other modeling languages in the MDA suite, such as UML and BPMN!

The webinar will introduce the basics of the IFML language and will demonstrate the advantages of using it together with BPMN diagrams, UML use case, activity diagrams, sequence diagrams, and class diagrams. IFML is the missing piece for modeling the front end of software applications and perfectly complements other modeling dimensions in broad system modeling projects.
The schedule of the webinars is as follows:
– Thursday July 25 at 15 CEST (GMT +2) (in english)
– Friday July 26 at 15 CEST (GMT +2) (in italian)
Register to the Webinar on the WebRatio Web site:
register to the webinar

http://www.webratio.com/portal/content/en/webinars

Participation is free, courtesy of WebRatio.

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Model Driven Enterprise Engineering (TM)

Model Driven Enterprise Engineering (MDEE) is a concept proposed by Know Gravity, a company based in Zurich, Switzerland, that has been active in modeling and requirement engineering since 2000.

They propose a pragmatic approach to integration of OMG and non-OMG modeling specification, so as to cover all the modeling needs of the enterprise (and not only for software).
They come up with a quadrant of 4 + 1 modeling settings, as shown in this slide:

The Model Driven Enterprise Engineering framework and the mapping to the  OMG modeling languages.

The 5 scenarios are named as:

  • Strategy Model (business – what?)
  • Operational Model (business – how?)
  • IT Support Model (IT – what?)
  • Technology Model (business – how?)
  • Management Model

The focus of the approach is mainly in the first stages of design, and especially on requirement, simulation and early prototyping.
The approach is based on integrating and relating together multiple and diverse models, through the definition of a vocabulary (SBVR-based) and integrated metamodel.
It covers project management, enterprise and system document generation, functional requirements, business rules, and many more aspects.
The idea starts from the fact that using single OMG specification doesn’t make much sense, because actually many OMG business and IT specs are complementary and sometimes overlapping. Therefore there is need of alignment on meta entity level and of designing cross-model and/or cross-profile associations.
The current way they do this is to have a profile-based comprehensive modeling tool, that lets you model the various aspects and related them to each other.
In my opinion, this is not that different to the megamodeling approaches.
The good news is that they also plan to fully support IFML (the new OMG standard called Interaction Flow Modeling Language, see also my previous post on standardization here) in the framework by 2014.

Two peculiar initiatives I deem interesting are:

  • they trademarked the concept of Model Driven Enterprise Engineering!
  • they plan to write and publish a book on the topic which will be completely automatically generated out of the models, and will be produced following software engineering processes, starting from use cases, requirements, and so on!

You can find more on this at the company Web site: Know Gravity.

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Introducing the Interaction Flow Modeling Language (IFML)

Yesterday, I gave my first webinar on IFML.

As you may already know, IFML stands for Interaction Flow Modeling Language and is the new OMG standard designed for expressing the user interaction and control behaviour of the front-end of software applications. The Interaction Flow Modeling Language has been adopted as a standard by OMG in March 2013 and is now being disseminated to the public.

Here is the slidedeck used for the webinar, I think it provides a good overview on the new standard language. As usual, the slides are also available for download (through SlideShare).
Stay tuned for the recorded audio/video of the webinar, I will post it soon.

The full video recording of the webinar is now available on YouTube too. See it here:
 

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OMG IFML webinars in English, Spanish and Italian

For your information, we will give a webinar dedicated to the new OMG standard IFML (a modeling language for defining the User Interaction of software applications, born as evolution and extension of WebML) and its practical use within model-driven approaches that go down to the generation of industrial applications upon web, mobile and proprietary platforms, as supported by WebRatio.  The webinar will also introduce the new open source design tool for IFML developed by WebRatio.

The Webinar will be given in three languages: English, Spanish and Italian.
The schedule of the three versions of the webinar is as follows:

Friday May 31, 2013
– at 15 CET (in English)
– at 16 COT (in Spanish)

Friday June 7, 2013 
– at 15 CET (in Italian)

You can register to the webinar here:

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