OMG MEMBERS MEET TO ADVANCE INTEGRATION STANDARDS

September 22, 2000

SCIENCE & ENGINEERING NEWS

Needham, MASS. — The latest Object Management Group (OMG) Technical Meeting Week, sponsored by Fujitsu, Ltd., attracted over 500 OMG members and guests to Burlingame, CA, USA from September 11 to 15, 2000 where they advanced the organization’s standards efforts and participated in many other related activities. Four tutorials covered CORBA, the Object Management Architecture (OMA), fault-tolerant CORBA, and the Unified Modeling Language (UML). Two other standards organizations – the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), an electrical power standards organization; and the NTCIP, working on a standard protocol for Intelligent Transportation Systems – met jointly with the OMG during the week.

Members viewed live demonstrations of twenty CORBA-based products including two showing multi-vendor interoperability: One, sponsored by The Open Group, highlighted that organization’s testing program by networking six Object Request Brokers (ORBs): Interstage from Fujitsu, OmniORB from AT&T, Visibroker from Inprise, ORBacus from OOC, MICO from the MICO project was entered by Puder Consulting, and TAO from the University of Washington was entered by GMD Fokus. The other, sponsored by the Distributed Object Promotion Group (DOPG), a Japanese consortium, went beyond ORBs to also show interoperability of OTS (Object Transaction Service) implementations from Fujitsu, Hitachi, and NEC.

OMG’s PTC works on standards that affect the CORBA infrastructure, and on object-oriented analysis and design. At this meeting, the PTC initiated work on a standard that will integrate the new protocol SOAP with OMG’s CORBA architecture. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) transmits business data expressed in the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) over the widely-used web protocol HTTP. In order to take full advantage of this new protocol, enterprises need to integrate it with their existing computing infrastructure. When complete less than a year from now, the new standard will enable this integration by allowing SOAP clients to invoke CORBA servers, and CORBA clients and servers to interoperate using SOAP.

Also in the infrastructure arena, the PTC initiated efforts to standardize methods to transmit CORBA network packets through firewalls, and to adapt Real-Time Object Request Brokers to emit alternative protocols needed for, e.g., telecommunications or other Real-Time applications. The PTC also initiated efforts to standardize a mapping from OMG IDL (Interface Definition Language) to WMLscript, a scripting language based on the Wireless Markup Language, and to standardize an activation framework for persistent CORBA servers. Two PTC standardization efforts completed their evaluation phase and started the final series of votes that will promote them to official OMG specification status: CSIv2 (Common Secure Interoperability, version 2), a protocol supporting secure interoperability between different vendors’ CORBA products, and Additional Structuring Mechanisms for the Object Transaction Service, supporting long-lived distributed transactions that occur, for example, when arranging a meeting on many people’s schedules, or making travel reservations involving an airline, hotel, and rental car company.

UML, one of the OMG’s most widely-used standards, supports object-oriented analysis and design and forms a basis for OMG’s other modeling standards including the CWM (Common Warehouse Metamodel). Issuance of three RFPs (Request For Proposal) started the process of defining a new major release of the UML standard. The three RFPs cover UML Infrastructure, UML Superstructure, and Object Constraint Language (OCL).

OMG’s Domain Technology Committee (DTC) standardizes technology in vertical industries including Manufacturing, Transportation, Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance. Clinical Trials, the last stage in the testing of new drugs before they can be approved for general use, generate large amounts of data. A new facility, to be standardized by OMG’s Life Science Research Domain Task Force, will allow these data to pass from one stage of analysis to another, or to persistent storage, using standard interfaces and representations. Another new standardization effort will produce a CORBA-based Payroll Facility with interfaces expressed in OMG IDL.

The DTC charters Task Forces to standardize technology in different areas. At this meeting, the DTC chartered a new Space Domain Task Force, working on CORBA-based space, satellite and ground system software.

Any company may join OMG and respond to the RFPs that initiate new standards efforts. To access the RFPs, see http://www.omg.org/schedule . For membership information, see http://www.omg.org/membership .

OMG maintains a vigorous liaison program, maintaining relations with dozens of outside organizations. At this meeting, OMG’s Liaison Subcommittee formalized relationships with the AIAG (Automotive Industry Action Group), devoted to business process and practice in the automotive industry supply chain, and the CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems), an international organization of space agencies standardizing interchange of space-related information.

Following approval by an OMG Task Force, Architecture Board, and Technology Committee, a vote by the OMG’s Board of Directors officially declares a new specification. The Board met in Burlingame to give final approval to three new and six revised specifications: New technology adoptions include a Public Key Infrastructure supporting e-Commerce, a facility for ordering and provisioning Telecommunications services, and a CORBA profile for the UML. Maintenance revisions were adopted for these OMG specifications: CORBA core, the mapping from OMG IDL to the languages C and Python, CORBA Messaging, the Interoperable Naming Service, and the Product Data Management (PDM) facility. The board also elected new members from NetGenics, Inc., and MSC Software Corporation.

With the support of its membership of software vendors, software developers and end users, the OMG’s CORBA is “The Middleware That’s Everywhere.” Since 1989, the OMG has been “Setting The Standards For Distributed Computing” through its mission to promote the theory and practice of object technology for the development of distributed computing systems. The goal is to provide a common architectural framework for object-oriented applications based on widely available interface specifications. The OMG is headquartered in Needham, MA, USA and has international marketing offices in Bahrain, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and the UK, along with a U.S. government representative in Washington, DC, USA.

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