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The main contributions of this thesis are the following:

1 - DT4BP

The DT4BP modelling language has been defined by focusing on the three equally important aspects of dependability, collaboration, and time. The language allows the modeller to explicitly capture information related to the different actions the entities must perform within the same business process. In addition, the language also allows the modeller to determine the way these entities interact amongst themselves to achieve the business process goal. The language also provides features to model exceptional situations that may arise during execution, as well as the steps that allow the business process to recover from such a situation. DT4BP has a powerful set of time-related primitives that allow the modeller to attach time constraints to the different kinds of elements involved in a process definition. However, the most important aspect of the language is the integrated way in which the concerns of dependability, collaboration and time have been addressed. It is because of this integration that there exist primitives, to model, among other things, exceptional situations that arise during the interaction of two different entities or due to a missing time constraint. Last, but not least, the fact that the language has been defined following the metamodelling principles also contributes to the validation of the Model Driven Engineering (MDE) approach as a means for the definition of domain-specific languages.


2 - Timed-CaaFWrk

The Timed-CaaFWrk provided in this thesis allows the software designer to define different temporal reference frames for the participants entering into the same Coordinated Atomic Action (CAA). For example, the maximum allowed time participants have to get involved into the execution of a CAA and the maximum allowed elapse time to complete the execution of the CAA may both be constrained. The time-related extensions given to the conceptual framework also allow the software designer to define periodic CAAs, set constraints over the data objects used during the execution of the CAA, or set delays or deadlines over a subset of the instructions to be performed by certain participant once engaged within a CAA. The definition of the Timed-CaaFWrk has been given according to the metamodelling principles, which contribute to the formalisation of the conceptual framework.


3 - Timed-CAA-DRIP

This implementation framework is meant exclusively to support the development and execution of a software system designed according to the Timed-CaaFWrk. It provides a set of Java classes to allow programmers to implement the particular functionalities of the software system, while at the same time respecting the structure defined at the design level. The Java classes with which the programmers have to interact, adhere to the same terminology employed at the design level, making the gap between design and implementation shorter. At run-time, the customisations made by the programmers are automatically bound up with the built-in classes enclosed within the framework, such that the implemented software system executes according to the conceptual framework principles.


4 - M2M transformation

Defining the DT4BP modelling language according to the metamodelling principles implies providing a model-to-model (M2M) transformation between DT4BP and a Timed-CaaFWrk to supply the semantic mapping (one of the language definition elements). Providing the semantic mapping as an M2M transformation has the potential benefit of translating DT4BP models into Timed-CaaFWrk models.


5 - M2T transformation

Having formalised the Timed-CaaFWrk according to the metamodelling principles allows the software designer or programmer to define a M2T transformation, whose goal it is to automate the development phase. This M2T transformation then takes a Timed-CaaFWrk-compliant model and generates Java source code that interfaces with the Timed-CAA-DRIP. The source code obtained as result of this M2T transformation adheres to the best practices principles regarding the interfacing with Timed-CAA-DRIP.


6 - Validation tool

Let the M2M transformation that provided the Timed-CaaFWrk-compliant model from a DT4BP-compliant model be T1 and let the M2T transformation that provided a Java implementation from a given Timed-CaaFWrk-compliant model be T2 (both contributions previously mentioned). Then it is possible to compose T1 with T2 (i.e. T1 o T2) such that given a certain DT4BP model M_DT4BP, a Java source Timed-CaaFWrk-compliant M_Java implementation can be automatically obtained. Hence, this Java source code M_Java, after a by-hand completion, can be compiled and subsequently executed to simulate M_DT4BP.


7 - Case study

A running example is used to demonstrate how the different DT4BP features are used to explicitly to capture the dependable, collaborative and time-related aspects of this case study. In addition, this running example demonstrates the comprehensibility, suitability and effectiveness of DT4BP, which allow business analysts to model DCTC business process. However, it is worth mentioning that no empirical assessment has been carried out to evaluate whether DT4BP properly fulfils the attributes of comprehensibility, suitability and effectiveness in broader application domains.

The same running example is also used as vehicle to realise a proof-of-concept of the proposed validation tool.


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Last modified: Friday 28 May 2010