A Disciplined Method to Generate UML2 Communication Diagrams Automatically From the Business Value Model

A Disciplined Method to Generate UML2 Communication Diagrams Automatically From the Business Value Model

Nassim Kharmoum (Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco), Sara Retal (Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco), Yassine Rhazali (ISIC Research Team of ESTM, LMMI Laboratory of ENSAM, Moulay Ismail University of Meknes, Morocco), Soumia Ziti (Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco) and Fouzia Omary (Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3661-2.ch012


One of the most crucial objectives of enterprises is bridging the gap between its businesses and information systems. In this vein, many approaches have emerged among them: the Model-Driven Architecture (MDA). This approach is an initiative of the Object Management Group (OMG) and considers the model as the central entity in the software systems development process offering many techniques allowing transformation between models. In addition, the OMG introduces for the MDA three abstraction levels, namely Computation Independent Model (CIM), Platform Independent Model (PIM), and Platform-Specific Model (PSM). This contribution proposes a disciplined method that ensures an automatic alignment between businesses and information system models at CIM and PIM levels. The source model consists of E3value model, which is the Business Value model, whereas, the generated model represents UML2 Communication diagrams, that are the UML's behavior and interaction models. The transformation is achieved automatically using meta-models and ATLAS Transformation Language and proved to be effective.
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Currently, the majority of enterprises of different sizes are seeking to align their business with the information system (Doumi et al., 2013). For that reason, new approaches appear, in the midst of them, the Model-Driven Architecture (MDA), which is introduced by the Object Management Group (OMG). This approach is proposed at the beginning of the 21st century (OMG-MDA, 2014) and focuses on the models in the development process of any software system (Bézivin and Briot, 2004). These models aim to facilitate the development process (Maatouguiet al., 2016) based on a variety of means; among them, the models’ transformation task. Therefore, theOMG offers three abstraction levels for the MDA approach, namely Computation Independent Model (CIM), PlatformIndependent Model (PIM), and Platform Specific Model (PSM).

Figure 1 illustrates the main model generations between the different MDA approach levels; the CIM level isregarded as the higher abstraction level. Models at this level do not provide any technical consideration or systemimplementation. The PIM level presents the average abstraction level and also displays some models not containingany implementation and technical specifications. However, the PSM level is considered as the lowest abstraction levelbecause it is related to the platform execution. The Code is not considered a level in MDA approach; it is just a purposeand a goal expected from the different transformations, and it is just a translation of the PSM in a textual formalism(Rhazali et al., 2015).

Figure 1.

Overview of the MDA transformation

(Blanc and Salvatori, 2011).

Most researchers put much focus on the PIM to PSM transformation because these levels have multiple common features (Kharmoum et al., 2016). Still, the transformation from CIM to PIM is rarely considered because of the nature of these two distinct levels representing higher abstraction models, such as requirements models (dos Santos Soareset al., 2011; Rhazali et al., 2018). In this paper, the authors emphasize on the models’ construction and the transformation from the CIM level to the PIM level. The CIM level is represented by the E3value model, while the generated PIM level model is rendered by UML2 (i.e., Unified Modeling Language 2) Communication diagrams (OMG-UML, 2017), which are called UML Collaboration diagrams in the UML1.x. Consequently, The E3value source model presents the Business Value Model which is the value-based requirements engineering (Gordijn and Akkermans, 2003; GARRIGO’S et al.,2012); it unifies the e-business models notations from a value aspect, by revealing how the economic value is created, exchanged and consumed within a network of actors (Gordijn and Akkermans, 2001). Thus, the Business Value Model makes models more comprehensible by «Business Executives» and «Business Value Analysts». The UML’s behavior and interaction model that is automatically generated will be represented by the second version of the UML Communication diagrams. The authors choose the UML model, as it is the modeling standard of OMG (OMG-UML, 2017; Skersys et al., 2018), where, the diagrams are usually created by «Developers» and «Systems Engineer» to describe and understand the system behavior. This model designs in a standard way the messages’ interaction between different objects and system actors, taking into consideration the order of various messages. Hence, this method will allow stakeholders who do not know about UML2 conception to generate their UML2 Communication diagrams.

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