Open International Forum on Business Ontology

I participated for the first time in a meeting of this forum (with Duane Nickull as guest speaker), to discuss the semantic and ontology issues related to the recently launched initiative in OASIS, setting up a new Technical Committee scoped with the mission to develop a Reference Model for Service Oriented Architecture: the key problem identified is that the term “SOA” has often been appropriated to mean a particular (engineering) implementation of what is intended as an (architectural) model. This has led many to worry whether different SOA implementation are able to interoperate if there is not even a common understanding and agreement over the basic terminology used in SOA (such as “service”, “contract”, “service description”, etc.).
There is a growing demand to be able to create online services that, at the same time as providing the “client” with a “one-stop” point of entry to the requested service, are actually an orchestration of different service components coming from not only different providers but – the important point here – from different SOA implementations. The key question is therefore: how can this be done, if there isn’t a common understanding (or ontology) that underpins every SOA implementation, and at the same time that respects the autonomy of every implementation (without requiring considerable re-engineering)?
Duane Nickull from Adobe and chair of the new Technical committee, provided the food for thought and discussion…

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