We finally make it!
After 9 months of participation to the OMG meetings, intensive interactions with stakeholders, and interesting feedback from big vendors and users (including IBM, Microsoft, Thales, NoMagic, SoftTeam, and others), OMG issued the official request for proposal (RFP) for IFML (Interaction Flow Modeling Language), a domain-specific modeling language for describing model-driven specification of user interaction. The RFP has been proposed for issuance by the ADTF (Analysis and Design Task Force), and then approved by the AB (Architecture Board) during the last technical meeting in Santa Clara, CA.
You may say this is not the final result, but just an intermediate step (actually, the basic starting point for the real standardization work). Rest assured, we know this, but still we are happy about the goal we reached so far, because the interactions and the outcome demonstrated high interest in the topic and strong commitment from OMG in pursuing this standardization path.
The IFML RFP will be the framework where we propose our contribution to OMG standardization based on the extensive 10-year experience on WebML and WebRatio. IFML’s scope is much broader than WebML though, so we expect some significant extensions and changes to our language. Indeed, the IFML RFP solicits proposals for a standard Interaction Flow Modeling Language for expressing the content, user interaction and control behaviour of the front-end of applications belonging to the following domains:
- Traditional, HTML+HTTP based Web applications. o Rich Internet Applications, as supported by the forthcoming HTML 5 standard. o Mobile applications. o Client-server applications.
- Desktop applications.
- Embedded Human Machine Interfaces for control applications.
- Multichannel and context-aware applications.
It’s worth noting that the IFML RFP does not cover the modeling of the presentation issues (e.g., layout, stlye and look&feel) of an application front-end and does not cater for the specification of bi-dimensional and tri-dimensional computer based graphics, videogames, and other highly interactive applications. This makes WebML well fit to the objective.
For all the other interfaces, the IFML RFP covers the modeling of interaction objects and their properties that are subject to or that impact the interaction flow.
The technical requirements of the RFP can be found directly on the RFP document, which is publicly available on OMG servers at the url:
Basically, the RFP asks for the semantics, an abstract syntax, and a concrete syntax with stylistics (in terms of a visual notation plus a companion textual notation) for an interaction flow specification language. Concretely, submitters shall develop a MOF-compliant metamodel, a UML profile aligned to the metamodel, grant interchange between tools via XMI, and a concrete syntax for the language.
The official schedule of the standardization process is as follows:
- RFP Issued: December 16, 2011
- Letter of Intent (LOI) Deadline: May 20, 2012
- Initial Submission Deadline: August 13, 2012
- Voting List Deadline: September 3, 2012
- Revised Submission Deadline: February 18, 2013
If you are an OMG memberyou can see the updated status of the process on the OMG servers. If you want to join our submission effort (either as an author or as a supporter), feel free to contact me and we will see how to merge your contribution. we are already scheduling a regular reporting on the status of the submission at all the upcoming OMG meetings and we will host a private workshop at every meeting for the submitters. We are already in touch with several interested parties, but we are more than happy to enlarge the partnership!