Thursday, November 20, 2008

OCL: Who Cares?

This week, the OCL 2.1 RTF has had to re-launch the voting on its first ballot, because it failed to reach a quorum.  With a 10-member voting list, 2 votes just didn't cut it.  And these were the two companies that put some effort into resurrecting this specification by addressing a substantial number of issues.

It's disappointing to see that there is so little interest from the OMG membership in the health of this specification that should, and I think was intended to be, a cornerstone of the the MOF architecture.  There is still interest in the user community, judging by the continued influx of issue reports.

No metamodel is complete without constraints that specify the well-formedness of instance models.  And OCL could be a key tool in that department, if it can keep up with the evolution of MOF and UML.  Indeed, it already seems to be an important part of several Eclipse modeling technologies, as I hope to demonstrate at EclipseCon 2009.  However, the current state of the specification makes the implementation of conformant tools difficult and interchange of OCL models impossible, because the language is imprecisely and inconsistently specified (some bits aren't really specified at all).

A few of us are working hard to reinvigorate and reform this specification, but we need help.  With just two OMG members involved at this point, it is difficult even to get through a vote, and I worry about how relevant the product will be that results from such a small collaboration.  So, pitch in with your time (it doesn't take much) and elbow-grease to make OCL succeed!  Let's not let this thing go the way of the dodo.

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