Issues of Modeling Web Information Systems Proposal for a document-centric approach

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Issues of Modeling Web Information Systems Proposal for a document-centric approach
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   Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 340 – 350 2212-0173 © 2013 The Authors Published by Elsevier Ltd.Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of SCIKA – Association for Promotion and Dissemination of Scientific Knowledgedoi: 10.1016/j.protcy.2013.12.038 CENTERIS 2013 - Conference on ENTERprise Information Systems / PRojMAN 2013 - International Conference on Project MANagement / HCIST 2013 - International Conference on Health and Social Care Information Systems and Technologies Issues of Modeling Web Information Systems Proposal for a document-centric approach Bálint Molnár  a , András Benczúr a, * a  Eötvös University of Budapest, Information Systems Department 1117 Budapest, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C, Hungary Abstract There have been already several researches on modeling various aspects of WIS. In our approach, we concentrate on the organizational and process modeling and we put the emphasis on documents that represent the information of enterprises in the form of unstructured and semi-structured documents. The assembly of documents reflects implicitly or explicitly the organization of enterprise and the network of business processes and the activities and tasks within processes. The documents represent at the same time the organizational roles along with tasks and activities. Our modeling approach concentrates on the co-existence and co-operation of documents and activities of business. The Story Algebra, or more generally the process algebra approach provides a formal framework that promises a formal describing method for modeling precisely the event triggered processes coupled with data in document format within an Enterprise Architecture Framework. © 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of CENTERIS/ProjMAN/HCIST. Keywords:  Web Information System; Document-centric Process and Data Modeling, Story Algebra, Process Algebra; * Bálint Molnár. Tel.: + 361-372-2500 / 8042; fax: +361-372-2500 /8044 .  E-mail address:  molnarba@inf.elte.hu .  Available online at www.sciencedirect.com   © 2013 The Authors Published by Elsevier Ltd.Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of SCIKA – Association for Promotion and Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge ScienceDirect   341  Bálint Molnár and András Benczúr / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 340 – 350 1.   Introduction As the information technology for Enterprise Resource Planning systems and generally Information Systems moves toward Web Services, Cloud Computing environment and SOA, the documents that – at the same time –incorporates the end-user interfaces and significant content of the information exchange plays outstanding role within the information processing procedure. The user interface is populated by various document types as structured, semi-structured and unstructured. The Web Information System  ( WIS  ) within an enterprise or organization has an architecture that can be mapped to one of the enterprise architecture paradigms. A document-centric approach attempts to depict both the life cycle  and life history  of Information System – i.e. the changes during design and operational time – from a viewpoint that puts the changes in structure and content of documents in the focus. Moreover, the documents assist to grasp both the dynamic and static facet of IS behavior. A WIS contains beside conventional elements documents described by XML that can be handled as semi-structured documents. Within WIS XML documents draw on active hyperlinks and on other characteristic that can be exploited by Web services. In this article a proposal will be shown that outlines a modeling approach that takes into account the inherent document-centric operation style of modern enterprise IS, the enterprise architecture approach and most recent software architecture approaches. We will present the proposed approach and the relationship to the previous and similar methods that can be used in phases of analysis, design, implementation and operation. We will outline the issues that were created by the most recent software architecture and technological development as SOA, Cloud Computing and their combination. The topics that should be investigated and requires some response from modeling methods: (1) the focus point of information exchange between end-user and IS moved slowly from structured documents towards semi-structured and unstructured document; (2) the dynamic side of man-machine communication is manifested in services, Web services that processes the input data. There is a strong coupling among the data, document and the service of IS at information architecture level. To understand the proper behavior an adequate approach is needed. There are attempt in the literature that try to describe these phenomenon by various method as e.g.  Business  Artifact [1], adaptive documents  (ADoc)[3], adaptive business objects  (ABO) [4], and lately business entities  [5]. In Section 2, we present the previous researches reported in the literature, in Section 3 we outline our method making use of the previous approaches in a document centric approach, and Section 4 provides a summary and conclusions. 2.   Literature review The use of semi-structured and active documents described in the form of XML and a methodical design approach to construct web-based applications are discussed in [6]. Another article [7] shows a design methodology for a disciplined design process to structure and sustain large amounts of data in a Web site. For large-scale WIS design, Ref. [8] encompasses a method. To assists the understanding the complex behavior of WIS the enterprise architecture approaches provide a helping hand. Zachman ontology and TOGAF was developed for information systems ([9], [10], [11]). The two frameworks could help to structure both the behavior of WIS considering static, dynamic and operational side. The service orientation is emerged as new software architecture paradigm and SOA is a kind of reference architecture or architecture style that independent from technology. The SOA helps to arrange and to make use of business services in the form of business capabilities and resources that may belong to various business  342  Bálint Molnár and András Benczúr / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 340 – 350 functions [11]. SOA as a reference architecture can assist to organize the utilization of software technology within a given enterprise, or consortium of organizations that should take part in information exchange to communicate with each other. In this sense SOA can be regarded as set of principles to guide the design of software architecture that has, as a focus point, the concept of “ service ” or “ Web service ”. [12]: “A Web service is a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network. It has an interface described in a machine-processable format (specifically WSDL). Other systems interact with the Web service in a manner prescribed by its description using SOAP-messages, typically conveyed using HTTP with an XML serialization in conjunction with other Web-related standards.” The above-mentioned definition focuses primarily on the software technology side of Web services. However, the Web services functions within an organizational environment. The Web services should supply information for the end-users; consequently the structure of information mapped onto a specific document should reflect the organizational structure, roles and their access rights, and network of activities emerging within business processes. The emerging paradigms of Service Oriented Computing  (SOC), Cloud Computing  put emphasis on services as a uniform and general information exchange interface towards end-users. There are various input data format for communication to services: (1) HTML pages, (2) SOAP messages, (3) unstructured documents (XML). The semi-structured documents comprising hypermedia or hypertext document has a significant role in WIS ([13], [14], [15]). Documents played key role in displaying, interchanging, and retaining information previously. In a technology, electronic environment documents that are designed and structured for end-users have become the emblematic layout for the WIS user interfaces using the HTML. The service-centric approach in a socio-technological environment can be formulated that services are implemented by electronic means to satisfy demands. The adaptive documents  (ADocs) can be understood as a “domain artifact” that presents state-dependent behavior. Within this context the domain artifact   designates the representation tool by which the problems and their solution can be described. The relevant properties of ADoc [3]: 1.   dynamically varying data environment; 2.   state-dependent behavior as the domain artifacts responds to organization level events; 3.   support for cooperation between “artifacts” and “services”. The adaptive business objects  (ABOs) [4] represents and abstracts a business entity. The steps of the life cycle depict the history of the entity. The state transition of ABO is represented by a  finite state machine  (FSM). The external events and events at organizational level creates impact on WIS and the IS responds with state transition. The data is not contained in an ABO even though it uses a data graph  that dynamically combines information from different sources. The ABO can be perceived as a holistic approach. The business artifact   can be regarded as synthesis of the process and document aspects ([1], [2]). A business artifact consists of requirements related to data and processing that are business-relevant. The business artifact   is another modeling method that deals with information entities along with processing goals in a unified framework. The business services  or tasks  cause effects on business artifacts by business rules. In this framework, a business process model comprises business artifacts, services/tasks, and business rules. The business entity  as self-contained notion is formulated as „A business entity is a dominant information entity with an associated data model and an associated behavior model in the context of a process scope” [5]. The tasks of business processes have goals and some rules that can be described by algorithms according to some business process modeling approaches. There are competing theories and concepts that use the following notion: business activity, business process, business service, business function and task. There is an attempt in [5] to provide a comprehensive and unified set of definition for these business related notion.  343  Bálint Molnár and András Benczúr / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 340 – 350 3.   The document-centric modeling approach As the document-centric flow within business IT environment has become the basis; this phenomenon can be perceived as evolution of the information processing paradigm, shifting from the process-oriented, data intensive application typically represented and designed in object-oriented style towards document-oriented computing. The development of information technology has led to the active semi-structured documents. The documents – e.g. the form documents intended to collect data –, contain procedures for information processing as it is required at a given time at a certain position within the workflow, thereby the documents demonstrate active behavior. The document-centric approach can be characterized by the document structure , content   and behavior  . Table 1. Zachman architecture’s relationship to WIS J. A. ZachmanS. H. Spewak wha t how   where   who   when   why  Planner (Contextual) Business Objects Business Processes Business Locations Organizations Events Bus. Goals/Strategies Scope Owner (Conceptual) Semantic Model Business Process Model Business Logistics System Work Flow Model Master Schedule Business Plan Enterprise Model Designer (Logical) Logical Data Model Application Architecture Web Services , Semi-structured documents  System Geographic Deployment Architecture e.g. Distributed System Arch. Human Interface Architecture. Semi-structured documents  Processing Structure, Orchestration  Business Rules System Model Builder (Physical) Physical Data Model System Design,  XML  / HTML documents  System Architecture/Technology Architecture Presentation Architecture  HTML / XML interface  Control Structure Choreography  Rule Design Technical Model Subcontractor Data Definition Repository Programs Network Architecture Security Architecture,  Identity ,  Authentication ,  Authorization , Timing Definition Rule Specification Compo-nents Functioning Enterprise Data Function Network Organization Schedule Strategy  Axiomatic Design Theory  ([16], [17]) is an approach for structuring design problems, especially complex information systems.  Axiomatic Design Theory  (AD) defines four concepts, namely: domains, hierarchy of design artifacts, refinement and decomposition steps between domains and element of hierarchy, and furthermore two axioms. “  Independence Axiom : Maintain the independence of the functional requirements;  Information Axiom : Minimize the information content of the design”. The axiomatic design approach can be applied to modeling and design of complex systems with combining an enterprise architecture approach, e.g. Zachman ontology and TOGAF (Table 1, Table 2.). The documents can be modeled using formal and semi-formal approaches ([18], [19]). The aim of the combination these disparate methods are to improve the quality of software in complex Web information systems that are ubiquitous in a mobile environment. This method provides an approach to the full life cycle of WIS that is complex, integrated systems consisting of software, hardware, humans and business processes. The proposed methodology promises a systematic framework to model WIS using disciplined design and engineering method. The descriptive and design methods for enterprise architecture refer to models that can be used to represent a common piece of a specific viewpoint and a perspective.  344  Bálint Molnár and András Benczúr / Procedia Technology 9 ( 2013 ) 340 – 350 Using the set of basic concepts of axiomatic design they can be mapped to more adequate concepts of WIS as the User Requirements (UR), the Functional Requirements (FR), the Design Constraints and Parameters (DC&P), and Implementation Factors and Operational Variables (IF&OV) (Table 2.). The table tries to pin-point the role of documents in the process of design refinement and the continuous cross-checking between the various models representing on the one side of decomposed requirements and the other side of the results of creative design steps.     Fig. 1. A view of WIS integrated model based on Blokdijk and Zachman approach ([24], [9 (b) Document processing in Web service perception Blokdijk’s models: (1) organizational model  that represents the structure and method of work in the enterprise; (2) information model which reflects information, content, its srcin and method of descending; (3) data model  that displays the real world objects about which information is kept along with their relationships that lays the ground for a data implementation model; (4) a process model  that depicts the composition of the real world activities  and the strongly coupled control structure . 3.1.   The document-centric perspective The Internet technology accelerates that business processes will be implemented by Web-based applications; the information system services appear as Web services, sometimes as a Software-as-a-Service through Cloud Computing. Web-based document maintain the structured and semi-structured data through the computer-user interface of the WIS, and describe the dialogue between users (clients) and the WIS. The Web pages, the messages between Web services conveying data and / or documents are important component of WIS. Semi-structured data occur in the form of XML/HTML documents for the users on the network (Intranet, Extranet, and Internet) and in WIS. Displaying information for the users and requests input from the users are the two facets of WIS considering the information exchange. The documents formulated by extensible markup language (XML) can describe the relationship and information exchange between the Web pages and the associated business processes.
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