Marshaling Models

by Garcello D
The Article I decided to blog about this week is called “Marshaling and Unmarshaling Models Using the Entity-Relationship Model”. Similar to last week I was introduced to a new term called marshaling of which I had no prior knowledge of.  After doing some research, a simple way to explain marshaling is that it is the process of transforming the memory of an object into a data format for storage or transmission. It is mostly used when data has to be moved from a program to another program or from one part of a computer program to another. Now the definition kind of helped me understand it, but in all honesty I must admit I was still a bit confused. The author starts off by explaining how converging legacy software modeling assets by reengineering them into new generation notations is time consuming and not very cost-effective, because of this it is wise to marshal the modes across different modeling facilities. He then has two main rationales for this which are sufficiency and necessity. With sufficiency he explains how the UML is not convenient for model serialization, thus not fit for modeling asset exchange and evolution. For the necessity he explains how models and meta-models need to exchange and evolve, I do not believe we have learned about Meta models yet in class therefore I looked it up. A meta model is basically the analysis, development and construction of the frames, rules, constraints, models and theories which are useful for modeling a predefined class of problems. Furthermore he believes that the ER representation is the right thing to play the dual roles for marshaling both the meta-meta and Meta models.

Next the author shows an illustration of how marshaling and unmarshaling works then he explains the approach. The approach consisted of two steps, first the models were marshaled by converting the OO class diagram to an ER-based meta-model, then the models were unmarshaled by mapping the ER-based meta-model tool to create a WS modeling environment. Furthermore, the author believes marshaling and unmarshaling is a powerful modeling notation based on the ER model, it’s a powerful way to break spatial and temporal isolation because it evolves legacy software models.

In conclusion I must admit this was a tough read, there was a lot of new material and a lot of it was hard to grasp even with some research. Regardless of that, although this article may have been a little advanced I still believe that it pertained to this week’s class discussion because it used the E-R model and it increased my vocabulary with the new tech term marshaling. What I enjoyed most about this article were the images because unlike the text, they really helped me understand what was going on better.

Source: Cao F, Bryant B, Zhao W, Bur C, Raje R, Olson A, & Augusto M. (2005) Marshaling and Unmarshaling Models Using the Entity-Relationship Model. Proceedings of the 2005 ACM symposium on Applied computing. New York, NY. ACM

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