Examining the inner workings of XML and NIEM

Thursday, July 28, 2011

CAM editor tutorial video launches

To accompany the new CAM editor v2.0 release we now have an 8 minute online video.

The video provides a quick introduction to the features and capabilities in 
the latest CAM editor release made available for community use courtesy
of Oracle's media folks.

The demonstration steps through a scenario of enhancing an existing OASIS HAVE schema to add new components and then generate the resulting updated exchange schema. The tutorial inserts new NIEM core components to the existing OASIS schema via drag and drop from the dictionary - showing you how you can tailor or build a new NIEM exchange from existing library components - and/or add your own components and rules.

To access the tutorial - see this link and just enter in an email address
to launch the video page - http://launch.oracle.com/?NIEM

Oracle also has a new NIEM focus page with more resources and information:

The main CAM editor download page is http://www.cameditor.org

Monday, July 11, 2011

CAM, Mind maps and XML Schema

The new release of the CAM editor toolkit includes the ability to generate mind maps of XML structures.

This opens up some nice possibilities - such as documenting tool menu and functional capabilities - as this example shows. To do this you just create a simple XML hierarchy and load it into the CAM editor - then view it in the Freemind mind map viewer.

Alternatively if you have an existing XML Schema then you can import that into the CAM editor, then map that.  Again here is an example for the HAVE - Hospital Availability - schema from OASIS.

Interestingly there is also academic work on this topic and overall approach - see these couple of links:
Overall this provides an intuitive way of visualizing hierarchical relationships and XML information exchanges. More importantly it can improve your ability to design optimal information exchanges by making it possible to see the "big picture" from a business functional perspective.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CAM v2.0 ships – all new foundation version

The latest release of the CAM editor toolset is now available on Sourceforge.net – search NIEM.

In this all new version the support from Oracle has enabled a transformation of the editor underpinning Java framework and results in 3x performance improvement and 50% better memory utilization.

The result of nearly six months of improvements are catalogued in the release notes.

However here I’d like to talk about the strategic vision and highlight specific new go to features that make a difference for exchange schema designers and with a focus on the NIEM community.

So why is this a foundation version? Basically the new drag and drop designer tool allows you to tailor your own dictionary collection of components and then simply select and position those into your resulting exchange structure.  This is true global reuse enabled from a canonical domain dictionary collection.

So instead of grappling with XSD Schema syntax, or UML model nuances – this is straightforward direct WYSIWYG visual engineering – using familiar sets of business components.  Then the toolkit writes the complex XSD Schema for you, along with test samples, documentation, XMI/UML models, Mindmaps and more.

So how do you get a set of business components?  The toolkit allows you to harvest these from existing schema collections or enterprise data models, or as in the case of NIEM, existing domain dictionary collections.

I’ve been using this for the latest IEEE/OASIS/NIST initiative on a Common Data Format (CDF) for elections management systems.  So you can download those from OASIS and see how this can transform how you build actual business exchanges – improving the quality, consistency and usability – and dramatically allowing automated generation of artifacts you only dreamed of before – such as a model of your entire major exchange collection components.

So what we have here is a foundation version – setting the scene and the basis for changing how people can generate and manage information exchanges.  A foundation built using the OASIS CAM standard combined with aspects of the NIEM Naming and Design Rules and the UN/CEFACT Core Components specifications and emerging work on OASIS CIQ name and address and ANSI/ISO code list schema.

We still have a raft of work to do to integrate this into SOA best practices and extend the dictionary capabilities to assist true community development.  Answering questions such as:
- How good is my canonical component collection?
- How much reuse is really occurring?
- What inconsistencies and extensions are there in the dictionary components?

Expect us to begin tackling these areas now that the foundation is in place. The immediate need is to develop training and self-start materials – so we will be focusing there for the next couple of months and especially leading up to the IJIS industry event in July in New Jersey, and the NIEM NTE event in August in Philadelphia.


Friday, March 18, 2011

NIEM, GCN and Semantics

GCN today published an article on NIEM and Semantics which provide some useful background.

The article poses plenty of questions but without too many concrete answers.  Look for more detailed examination of topics of interest here in the coming weeks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Welcome to XML Orb - our focus explained

Not all XML is created equal. 

For example the NIEM initiative (National Information Exchange Model) for information exchange seeks to create interoperability and reuse guidelines for intra-governmental exchanges.  The challenge then is knowing how well the XML being used for NIEM purposes is actually delivering on the desired executive mission statements.  How well do the engineered XML exchanges align to the modelling view of the information domains?  Above all, how can all this be made simpler and more comprehensible, consistent and reliable.

The goal here at the XML-Orb is to provide insights into all these things XML to help foster better, faster and simpler ways to leverage XML and engineer solutions.  Adhering to the important original tenets underpinning XML.

XML is a block of clay that you can mold and tailor to suit your needs, and of course there is endless amounts of XML other people have likewise purposed.

Remember XML is not just about data, but processes, rules, forms, control, configuration, security, semantics, dictionaries, mapping, simulation and model representations to name just a few uses.

The XML-Orb helps make sense of XML without you requiring a PhD to decipher the theory, specifications, intentions and purpose.  Providing practical examples to illustrate the concepts and promote informed discussion.