1 Jan 1999 - All activities now moved to OOPSLA'99 Workshop Homepage

4 Dec 1998New Book on Business Objects

Patel , D. , Sutherland , J. , Miller , J. , (Eds.) Business Object Design and Implementation II. Springer, ISBN: 1-85233-108-9, 1998.

Sutherland , J.V. , Patel , D. , Casanave , C. , Miller , J. , Hollowell , G. , (Eds.) Business Object Design and Implementation. ISBN: 3-540-76096-2, 1997.

3 Dec 1998 - REA Paper

Adaptive Framework for the REA Accounting Model by Hiroaki Nakamura and Ralph E. Johnson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Abstract: Business applications must be able to adapt to a changing business environment, to access large amount of data and to be efficient. A framework for business applications must also be reusable and provide uniform access to information. We have developed a framework based on the REA accounting model that meets these requirements. It uses the active object-model and composite query technique for adaptability, the Interpreter pattern and the integrated query system for information uniformity, and incremental computation for performance. Each idea in our framework can be applied to many other business-object implementations.

29 October 1998

20 October 1998

Organization in a Chaotic World by Chris Marshall, SES Software Inc.

Business Object Component Architectures: A Target Application Area for Complex Adaptive Systems Research by Jeff Sutherland, IDX Systems Corp.

OOPSLA'98 Workshop 8

Business Object Component Design and Implementation IV:

From Business Objects to Complex Adaptive Systems

OOPSLA Business Object Workshop Agenda

OOPSLA 97-98 Proceedings Published by Springer

(Click image above for conference information and registration.)


16 Oct 1998 - Position Papers

"Ride The Mainstream!" with MACK Business Objects and Escape the Divine Programmer Syndrome by Christopher Spottiswoode, Metaset, South Africa

Spottiswoode updates his paper and provides final version.

Thinking Things: World-Wide Mind by Internet-based Object by Augustin Mrazik, Commenius University, Slovakia

Abstract: This paper describes the Thinking Things project which is in the design phase at the moment. Thinking Things is technology for creating the World-Wide Mind - an Internet-based object-oriented knowledge representation and deployment environment. Thinking Things (T2) are active objects which are modeling real things - from absolutely abstract notion and concept up to the most concrete things. The object model of T2 supports representation of different qualitative properties and aspects of real concepts and things. Active communication of T2 via Internet enables sharing, extension and modification of this knowledge. Interconnected and interoperating Thinking Things as units of knowledge form together a World-Wide Mind (WWM), which, at the beginning, will be able to learn from users (just like small kids), and then publish and share world-wide what it has already learned. This shared knowledge may be reused, extended, modified or negated by anybody with access to Internet.

Business Object Transitioning by Lenny Estrin

Abstract: This paper will describe the experience and history of introducing Business Objects into large organization. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the history or evolution of the transition process, so that the process of the transition is documented and shared in the among the OOPSLA Workshop participants. The road of establishing the Business Objects as a best practice in a large insurance company, which has a tremendous investment in a legacy code and which has had problem adopting a new technologies, has been a challenging one. We have experimented with variety of new concepts that would help us to transition more quickly and less painfully to the new architecture which is required. Business Objects is one of these tools or concepts, however we have had a few others before we have reached the BO.

Business Object Component Architectures: A Target Application Area for Complex Adaptive Systems Research by Jeff Sutherland, IDX Systems Corp.

Submitted to: OOPSLA'98 Workshop on Modeling Dynamic/Emergent Distributed Object Systems (This background paper for the Business Object Workshop will provide cross feed to the Workshop focussed on complex adaptive systems.)

Abstract: Concepts in Complex Adaptive Systems (cas) research are relevant to the development of enterprise business object component systems. Many mathematical and computing models have been developed for cas in recent years [CPM 94] and much of this work can be applied, at least conceptually, to Business Object Component Architectures now emerging as the mechanism of choice for building large distributed object systems.

From Business Objects toward Adaptive Agents by Pam Rostal, Compuware Professional Services

Abstract: Considering units of work as autonomous goal-driven agents emphasizes the connection between business objects and complex adaptive systems. Assigning goals to work objects, in addition to the usual attributes, behaviors and rules, allows them to act as adaptive agents. Applying user-modifiable conditions to their actions keeps the agents’ goal-driven behavior within limits dictated by volatile consumer markets, changing corporate direction, new legislative rulings, etc. This paper considers how complex adaptive system research might be applied when building business objects in support of a non-deterministic business environment. The sample case study involves the evolution of a traditional object-oriented application into a more flexible agent-driven system. It is a work in progress whose success cannot be evaluated at the current time, but the approach seems promising and would benefit from scrutiny by the practitioners at the workshop.

Building Workflow Business Objects by Marc-Thomas Schmidt, IBM Software Group

Abstract: OMG is in the final stages of defining the Workflow Management Facility. This facility represents an important building block for the emerging OMG Business Component Framework; it provides a framework for workflow business components which enable realization business processes in a business component environment. Workflow components take care of the overall process logic of a business process, enable monitoring of workflow execution and support flexible combination of reusable business components into workflow applications. We will describe the key concepts of the Workflow Management Facility specification, discuss implementation options for this facility and explain how to build distributed workflow applications within the framework of such a facility. In addition, we will discuss future extensions to the workflow standard in the areas of resource management and workflow process definition.

Using Intentional Information to Coordinate Inter-operating Workflows by Bill Kuechler and Bill Burg, University of Texas at San Antonio

Abstract: Automated workflow management systems (WFMS) between cooperating but autonomous groups can fail because autonomous workgroups are free to change the activities that constitute their task, disrupting coordination between systems. We have spent several years constructing and validating a model of trigger-based (process state based) coordination that is more robust than current WFMS implementations under conditions of unilateral process change. We believe the research has implications for the design of inter-operating software systems outside the restricted domain of WFMS, specifically for the development of enterprise business object component systems. In this paper we briefly describe an intentional definition of workflow and the interpretation of that definition for maintaining coordination of a composite system in which components autonomously evolve.

A Dynamic Business Object Architecture for Supporting Strategic Management Planning

Kitty Hung, Tony Simons, Srba Cvetkovic
Department of Computer Science, The University of Sheffield

Abstract: It is widely recognised that one of the current problems in the software industry is the communication gap between the business end users and the software developers. This gap tends to limit the software developers’ knowledge in the business in terms of requirements, strategies and operations. As a result, the software delivered cannot meet the expectation from the business thus business end users find it difficult to justify the return of investment from software. This position paper presents a Dynamic Business Object Architecture (DBOA) with an aim to fill this gap. It is believed that the bridging of the communication gap would enable software to be more supportive not only to the business requirements but also to organisations in implementing their business strategies and to achieve their ultimate business goals.

Structuring Specification of Business Systems with UML (with an Emphasis on Workflow Management Systems) by Pavel Hruby, Navision Software, Denmark.

Abstract: Unified Modeling Language (UML) defines a standard notation for object-oriented systems. Using UML enhances communication between domain experts, workflow specialists, software designers and other professionals with different backgrounds. UML can be used on a general level, which is intuitive for the users of workflow systems. In spite of this, UML symbols also have defined semantics, which means that the visual workflow description can be used as a software specification. This position paper explains how to use UML for specification of workflow management systems, how to trace the description of business processes to the object-oriented software design and how to structure the project repository with UML deliverables.

Organization in a Chaotic World by Chris Marshall, SES Software Inc.

Abstract: This paper describes how the concepts described at OOPSLA ‘97 (Business Object Management Architecture) have been extended and refined using ideas drawn from complex adaptive systems. The paper proposes that traditional hierarchical enterprises that rely on command and control based on central authority will be replaced by networks of organizations that coordinate their work through contracts. Software components to support such organizations are illustrated using UML.

Business Procedures are not Represented Adequately in Business Applications and Frameworks! by Hans Albrecht Schmid, FB Informatik, University of Applied Sciences, Konstanz, Germany and Fernando Simonazzi, LIFIA, UNLP, La Plata, Argentina

Abstract: Recently, the business community discovered the importance of business process engineering, and the object-oriented community has put much emphasis on the structuring of business applications, often in the context of client/server computing. However, there is a gap between the two efforts. Our claim is that state of the art business application structures and frameworks do not represent business procedures adequately. Business procedures are not modeled naturally, i.e. in principally the same way as they are described by the business community.

A Business Object Framework Architecture by Hans Albrecht Schmid, FB Informatik, University of Applied Sciences, Konstanz, Germany, Matthias Riebisch, Deutsche Post AG, Duesseldorf, Germany, Torsten Heverhagen, Informatik, University Essen, Germany, Harald Liessmann, Wirtschaftsinformatik, University Erlangen-Nuernberg, Germany

Abstract: We advocate a 5-layer architecture for business object frameworks with the layers: presentation, business process, business entity, data access, and data storage, instead of the more common 3-layer architecture, and give reasons why the 5 layers are required. We have collected and list, for each of the layers, the responsibilities it must fulfill and problems which may arise, together with a reasoning.

Working with Business Objects: A Case Study by W. Hordijk, S. Molterer, B. Paech, Ch. Salzmann, Institut für Informatik, Technische Universität München

Abstract: In this short paper we report on the first steps of a case study on the usage and adaptability of business objects (BOs). This toy-world scenario is the first stage of a study for a German automobile company to evaluate business objects especially from the reuse perspective. Therefore we transfer a well known example - a time-planner - from UML to CDL, realize it on the basis of IBMs SanFrancisco and take a critical look at the resulting benefits of BOs against ordinary OO techniques.

Which Business Objects? by Robert Haugen

Customers or Parties? Purchase Orders or Stock Flows? Should distributed business objects reproduce traditional business applications? In other words, are we building single or multi-party systems?

The Business Component Approach by Peter Herzum and Oliver Sims

Abstract: This paper describes the business component approach to large-scale distributed business system development. The business component is a single unifying concept that supports system definition and requirements and continues through deployment and customization to subsequent system evolution. It does this with minimal transformations across the development life-cycle, and is supported by appropriate processes, architectures and tools. Current software component initiatives are aimed essentially at build-time components for developers, and fall broadly into two categories: GUI or PC/NC-oriented components, and components aimed at enterprise object model implementation. However, if we are to address the multi-dimensional systems development problem for mission-critical, large-scale, multi-user, distributed business systems, we need a component concept that addresses the entire development life-cycle.

30 May 1998 - Workshop Participant Publishes Business Object Survey

"The Truth Is Out There?": A Survey of Business Objects

9 May 1998Odell, James. Designing Agents: Using Life as a Metaphor. Distributed Computing, July, 1998.

1 May 1998OOPSLA'98 Business Object Workshop Proposal Accepted

5 March 1998 - OOPSLA'97 Workshop on Business Object Design and Implementation III. 11th Annual Conference on Object-Oriented Programming Systems, Languages, and Applications Addendum to the Proceedings. OOPS Messenger, ACM/SIGPLAN, 1998 (in press).


Call for Participation - due date 1 August 1998

The NCITS Accredited Standards Committee H7 Object Information Management and the Object Management Group Business Object Domain Task Force (BODTF) will jointly sponsor the Third Annual Workshop on Business Object Design and Implementation.

Goals of Business Object Workshop IV

Focus of This Year's Workshop

Questions that still need answers from the 1997 Business Object Workshop: Many of the outstanding issues in business object design and implementation for enterprise systems, particularly heterogeneous, distributed, systems are evolving into federated, autonomous business object components on the Internet acting collectively to solve business problems in an automated fashion. Frank Manola (Towards a Web Object Model [Mano98]) describes the future construction of distributed object systems on the Web. The result is counterintuitive. Yes there will be CORBA, yes Java, yes ActiveX, but these will be small pieces of a global implementation. Such systems are going to be more like stone soup!

Complex Adaptive Systems

Federated, distributed component systems are "interactive systems" [Wegn95]. Such systems are not Turing machines. All interactions in these systems cannot be anticipated. Therefore such systems can never be fully tested, nor can they be fully specified.

Interactive, autonomous, business object components will evolve independently. Some of these components will be intelligent agents roaming the net to perform complex tasks. Workflows in these systems must be managed in a very different manner than current systems being standardized by the Workflow Coalition or the Object Management Group. They will exhibit complex behaviors, catastrophic events, and chaotic interactions. These phenomenom have been subsumed under the umbrella of "complex adaptive systems (cas)" which are under intensive research for use in predictive economic models (let the computer beat the stock market or perform arbitrage) and the building of artificial life forms for the analysis of biological systems, computer models that can independently adapt and evolve, and "avatars" that can personally represent the creator in an Internet chat room.

It would be useful to apply the concepts in cas research to the development of enterprise business object component systems. Business entities are complex adaptive systems. Automating business processes renders the business in software, thus enterprise software systems are a specific example of a complex adaptive system. The flexibility, adaptibility, and reusability of these systems can determine the ability of the enterprise to evolve and survive in the marketplace.

Holland, in his Ulm lectures at the Santa Fe Institute [Holl95], creates a synthesis of seven basic cas concepts, four properties (aggregation, nonlinearity, flows, diversity) and three mechanisms (tags, internal models, buildings blocks).  These concepts can subsume and organize our discussion of business object systems.

Aggregation (property) - there are two important modes of aggregation in cas systems. Aggregation is a basic mechanism in object modeling and forms identity, a fundamental object concept. Forming components out of objects and enterprise systems from components is higher level aggregation. More important are emergent properties such as intelligence that evolve out of dumb subsystems. This is the basic concept in Minsky's "Science of Mind" [Mins88] or Hofstader's analysis of an ant colony [Hofs79]. Meta-agents (an enterprise) are formed of aggregates of agents (enterprise systems) and exhibit emergent behaviors (revenue, profitability, cash flow, the indices of value creation).

Tagging (mechanism) - this mechanism facilitates the forming of aggregates, from HTML pages to the mechanisms in CORBA or DCOM that allow interobject communication. They facilitate selective mating, i.e. firewalls block certain tagged elements to protect the enterprise. Thus they preserve boundaries between aggregates. They allow us to componentize object models and enable filtering, specialization, and cooperation. They are the mechanism behind the development of hierarchical aggregates that exhibit emergent behaviours like an operating system.

Nonlinearity (property) - nonlinear systems exhibit catastrophic and chaotic behaviors. Traffic flow on the Internet is nonlinear, leading to predictions of the collapse of the network. Brownouts, system loadings, scalability effects are often nonlinear. The arrival, proliferation, and destruction of viruses on the Internet is a nonlinear phenomenon that can be modeled like predator/prey interactions in biological systems.

Flows (property) - worflows are examples of flows in action. Message routing is a flow. Tags condition flows which often exhibit nonlinear behaviors and emergent behaviors. Flows typically have a multiplier effect. Money injected into the economy has an effect out of proportion to the amount, similar to email or other message flows on a network. The recycling effect of flows enables the rainforest, as well as an enterprise computer ecosystem. Individual pieces evolve, die, are replaced or reused, constantly changing the characteristics of the enterprise. Living software is software that is constantly changing due to flows, as rivers change their course. Dead software is eventually detritus that is expelled from the enterprise organism.

Diversity (property) - persistence of an individual agent depends on the ecosystem of agents that surround it, whether the agent is an ant in the rainforest or a business object in an accounting system. The evolution of these agents as software changes causes convergence of system architectures. It is the basis of emergent patterns that are so important in software development. Patterns that reappear again and again in widely disparate environments. It is difficult to evolve a single agent to make it more useful in an isolated context. Usefullness in business object systems arises from interactions between diverse agents as in human societies.

Internal models (mechanism) - the utility of complex systems is enhanced if the system can learn from experience and adapt its behavior. The ability of the system to develop and act on internal models that simplify the external world is basic to this phenomenon. It allows the system to infer the results of actions before they are taken, and to choose actions that have productive results. The prospects for longevity of software systems depend on this capability, just as in living systems.

Building blocks (mechanism) - reuse is dependent on building blocks used over and over again. It is the basis of Moore's law in hardware production. It could be the basis of dramatic improvements in software productivity. Building blocks are the basis for generation of internal models and are essential to the construction of adaptive enterprise systems.

Since these seven cas building blocks have proved useful in describing cas systems in general, they could be the basis for a taxonomy of business object systems. High level definitions from a business perspective can be found in "Complexity Theory: Fact-Free Science or Business Tool [Berr98]." Submitters should read at least the first chapter of "Hidden Order [Holl95]." Waldrop's book, "Complexity [Wald93]," is an excellent general introduction to cas.

Publication of Workshop Proceedings

The 1998 Business Object Workshop papers will be published as a book by Springer Verlag through a review and revision process prior to the Workshop.




The OOPSLA Workshop on Business Object Design and Implementation is jointly sponsored by the Accredited Standards Committee X3H7 Object Information Management Technical Committee and the Object Management Group (OMG) Business Object Domain Task Force for the purpose of soliciting technical position papers relevant to the design and implementation of Business Object systems.

X3H7 Object Information Management

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has approved a new work item to refine and extend the current international standard Reference Model for Open Distributed Processing (RM-ODP). X3H7, the U.S. technical committee for this new international work item, is tasked with the following:

OMG Business Object Domain Task Force (BODTF)

The Object Management Group has chartered the BODTF to facilitate and promote: And to issue requests, evaluate responses and propose for adoption by the OMG specifications for objects, frameworks, services and architectures applicable to a wide range of businesses.


Jeff Sutherland, Chair - jeff.sutherland@computer.org

Secretary X3H7 Object Information Management, liaison to X3H2 SQL Database
IDX Systems Corporation
116 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: +1 (617) 266-0001 x2920| Fax: +1 (617) 721 1226

Cory Casanave - cory_casanave@omg.org

Chair, OMG Business Object Domain Task Force
Cory Casanave
Data Access Corporation
14000 SW 119 Ave
Miami, FL 33186-6017, USA
Phone: +1 (305) 238 0012 | Fax: +1 (305) 238 0017

Haim Kilov - haim_kilov@ml.com

Merrill Lynch Technology Strategy and Planning
World Financial Center South Tower
New York, NY 10080-6105, USA

Joaquin Miller - miller@shl.com

Chair, H7 Object Information Management
Convener SC 33/WG 5 ISO ODP Enterprise Viewpoint
Chief Scientist--Objects & Models
MCI Systemhouse
12750 Center Court Drive, Suite 700
Cerritos, CA 90703-8583, USA
Phone: +1 (214) 689-7466 + 8 + 1948 #

Dilip Patel - dilip@vax.sbu.ac.uk

Chair, Centre for Information and Office Systems
South Bank University
School of Computing, Information Systems & Mathematics
103 Borough Road
London, SE1 0AA, UK
Phone: +44 0171 815 7429



[Berr98] Berreby, David. Complexity Theory: Fact Free Science or Business Tool. Strategy and Business 10:40-50, First Quarter, 1998.

[Hofs79] Hofstadter, D.R. Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. Vintage Books, 1989.

[Mano98] Manola, Frank. Towards a Web Object Model. Position Paper for the OMG-DARPA-MCC Workshop on Compositional Software Architectures. Object Services and Consulting, Inc., 1998.

[Mins88] Minsky, Marvin. The Society of Mind. Simon and Schuster, 1988.

[Holl95] Holland, John H. Hidden Order : How Adaptation Builds Complexity. Addison-Wesley, 1995.

[Odel98] Odell, James. Agents and Beyond: A Flock is Not a Bird. Distributed Computing, April, 1998.

[OOPS95] OOPSLA'95 Workshop on Business Object Design and Implementation II. 10th Annual Conference on Object-Oriented Programming Systems, Languages, and Applications Addendum to the Proceedings. OOPS Messenger 6:4:170-175. ACM/SIGPLAN October, 1995.

[OOPS96] OOPSLA'96 Workshop on Business Object Design and Implementation II. 11th Annual Conference on Object-Oriented Programming Systems, Languages, and Applications Addendum to the Proceedings. OOPS Messenger, ACM/SIGPLAN, 1997.

[OOPS97] OOPSLA'97 Workshop on Business Object Design and Implementation III. 11th Annual Conference on Object-Oriented Programming Systems, Languages, and Applications Addendum to the Proceedings. OOPS Messenger, ACM/SIGPLAN, 1998 (in press). Download PDF, RTF, Word versions.

Sutherland J., D. Patel, C. Casanave, G. Hollowell and J. Miller (Eds). Business Object Design and Implementation: OOPSLA'95 Workshop Proceedings. Springer, 1997.

[Wald93] Waldrop, M. Mitchell. Complexity : The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. Touchstone Books, 1993.

[Wegn95a] Wegner, Peter. Interactive Foundations of Object-Based Programming. IEEE Computer 28:10:70-72, Oct 95.

[Wegn95b] Wegner, Peter. Models and Paridigms of Interaction. OOPSLA'95 Tutorial Notes.