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A metamodel in ConceptBase is a collection of inter-related meta classes. Its instances are (ordinary classes) subsumed in models. In the example below, the metamodel is displayed on the upper third of the screendump. It specifies a notation for represented document and task flows between agents. The greater part of the screendump shows an excerpt a document flow model instantiated from the metamodel. Note that the document flow is just one aspect of the metamodel. Other aspects like the task flow are represented in other views. The graphical display is generated from the class and metaclass definitions in ConceptBase.
Metamodels and models are defined in a simple textual frame syntax. For example, one would define the document flow at the meta class level as:
Agent with attribute delivers: Agent end Agent!delivers with attribute content: Document end Document end
This defines a delivery relation between agents. A document is attached to the deliver as its content. At the model level, one instantiates the metamodel by simply using its features:
ServicePerson in Agent with delivers travelexpensedelivery: Secretary end ServicePerson!travelexpensedelivery with content document1: TravelExpenseDeclaration end
You may wonder why some of the agents (=Akteur in German) on the screendump are displayed in red color and others in blue. This is due to the flexible assignment of graphical symbols to objects. The assignment is based on queries. In this case, the 'red' agents are classified by a query that extract those agents who do not receive a document. Hence, some kind of graphical model analysis can be done by proper use of the graphical types. If the properties of an object change by an update to the concept base, its graphical display is adapted as well via a synchronization mechanism of the ConceptBase graph editor.
Another example of notation definition with ConceptBase is business modeling. The business model canvas of Osterwalder and Pigneur is used as starting point, defining nine areas of business modeling: key partners, key activities, the value propositions, customer relationships, customers, key resources, channels, revenues, and costs. The business modeling notation derived from it is quite simple and informal. The nine areas are reflected by nine flavors of busines model generation (BMG) objects:
Customer isA BMG_Object end Revenue isA BMG_Object end CustomerRelationship isA BMG_Object end Channel isA BMG_Object end ValueProposition isA BMG_Object end KeyActivity isA BMG_Object end KeyResource isA BMG_Object end Cost isA BMG_Object end KeyPartner isA BMG_Object endThe full specification is available from the CB-Forum.
Contact: M. Jeusfeld,
University of Skövde, Sweden