OMG Aims for Reusable Assets

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2003-10-20

In its continuing effort to standardize a format for reusing software development assets, the Object Management Group is expected to discuss its emerging Reusable Asset Specification at its technical meeting next month in London.

The group may even hold a preliminary vote then on whether to put the specification into the OMGs fast-track adoption process, according to sources at the organization.

The movement to create a standard began in earnest last month when the RAS Consortium submitted a specification on reusing software assets to the OMG for approval as an OMG standard.

As part of its effort to promote the RAS initiative, OMG, of Needham, Mass., is seeking input from the industry. In that regard, Flashline Inc., a Cleveland-based provider of software component reuse infrastructure and asset management technology, joined the OMG last week. Flashline contributed to the original RAS specification, as did IBMs Rational division, LogicLibrary Inc. and others.

RAS "is taking a pragmatic approach to packaging reusable assets and cataloging them in asset repositories," said Sridhar Iyengar, a Distinguished Engineer in IBMs Application Integration and Middleware division, in Armonk, N.Y. "The specification allows a number of companies to host repositories and access these reusable assets, but the packaging is defined by the RAS standard."

Charles Stack, CEO of Flashline, said the company "will continue working to make this specification an industry standard for describing assets in a way that facilitates reuse. We are also working on a metamodel for representing existing software assets in the legacy transformation field."

RAS supports Model Driven Architecture and Unified Modeling Language.

"Simply put, RAS defines how to package software assets so that they can easily be reused by other applications," said Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, of Cambridge, Mass. "Now, an asset isnt simply an object or a component in the sense of how we think of reusable application code today, but rather it can be a set of scripts, code, models, metadata, artifacts or anything else that is meant to be used time and again. What makes a RAS asset distinct is that its packaged as a set of files and metadata that describes those files in a way that they can be reused."

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