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Subject: What is a UML profile and why would I want one?

In the Architecture document the term "UML Profile" is used without
explanation.  This is a term becoming quite common within the OMG Analysis
and design task force to describe a specialization of UML for a specific
purpose.  A profile subsets UML and uses tagged values and stereotypes to
express a specific and precise model (even things like SQL schema).  Below
is an abstract of the Enterprise Distributed Object Computing RFP (OMG
Document: ad/99-03-10) which explains this well.
Working Definition of a UML Profile
For the purposes of this RFP, a UML profile is a specification that does one
more of the following:
 Identifies a subset of the UML metamodel (which may be the entire UML
metamodel). [ed] Tells you what you don't need.
 Specifies " well-formedness rules" beyond those specified by the
subset of the UML metamodel. " Well-formedness rule" is a term used in the
normative UML metamodel specification (ad/97-08-04) to describe a set of
constraints written in UML's Object Constraint Language (OCL) that
contributes to the definition of a metamodel element. [ed] Tells you what
you may NOT do.
 Specifies " standard elements" beyond those specified by the identified
subset of the UML metamodel. " Standard element" is a term used in the
UML metamodel specification to describe a standard instance of a UML
stereotype, tagged value or constraint.[ed] Adds things you CAN do.
 Specifies semantics, expressed in natural language, beyond those specified
by the identified subset of the UML metamodel. [ed] makes it more precise.
 Specifies common model elements (i.e. instances of UML constructs),
expressed in terms of the profile. [ed] Adds stuff you use a lot.
If it can be justified as compellingly necessary, a submission can also
new metatypes, i.e. new instances of MOF constructs such as MOF Classes,
MOF Associations, etc. (even though this would strictly go beyond a true
"profile" of UML).

Since some people like boxes and arrows (diagrams) while others like letters
and braces (text languages) it may be necessary to have a UML profile and a
simple XML representation of this same model.  The XML representation could
then be used without a "modeling tool".  It has been shown that you can
isomorphicly go back and forth between such representations.  I would also
hope that this Meta-model is a small subset of what can be done in UML and
probably would not include things like use cases.

The purpose of this model/profile would be to have a technology independent
way to express the ebXML specification that maps to DTDs and (in the future)
XML schema.  The components expressed in this "language" would be stable
even as the technologies evolve.  This model would include those concepts
needed for a "syntax neutral" representation of components (interactions) as
well as a specification of the external b2b business process (sequencing of

Cory Casanave
Data Access Technologies

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