Examining the inner workings of XML and NIEM

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.