January 26, 2004

Modelling Languages

Today I have been researching modelling notation methods, inspired by a presentation I have to give on Friday reporting back on the ForUSE conference I attended last year. Helmut Windl made reference to a modelling language he referred to as 'K3' which incorporated the use of 'swim lanes' to differentiate between organisational units responsible for certain activities or processes within a overall system flow. I was keen to look into this further as it sounded interesting and relevant to the work I am involved with at the moment which has multiple staff (from varied organisational units) who use the same system to manage and produce products on The Corporation's website.

I ran into many publications (here) by Dr. Peter Rittgen which start to make the picture clearer, but not crystal just yet. Lots of good reading that should inform some kind of opinion, however.

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January 21, 2004

YAON Diagram Technique

This is pretty hardcore, but might be useful for something in the future, so I'm noting it down. YAON is a Static Diagram Technique for Object Oriented Distributed Systems. It's mainly used for notating systems with the intent of using Java to build them. It requires a little knowledge of Unified Modelling Language (UML) which is a part/tool of the Rational Unified Process (RUP)

Abstract: This report describes a practical notation designed to graphically document the implementation decisions embodied in object-oriented programs running in distributed systems and open networks using different communication protocols. The notation is based on ION [AI95] and UML [RAT97a] and captures the static aspects of Object-Oriented systems. It introduces some new concepts such as interfaces and final classes. It captures the essence of Java in a pictographical way.

The notation has been succesfully used to model real-life systems such as the live scoring system for the Compaq Grand Slam Cup 1997.

An automatic translation of models described in this notation to Java code is intended. The notation does not intend to be a graphic programming language but a design tool complementary to the Java code.

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January 16, 2004


Theory as far as I am concerned, then, is best understood as an emergent property of practice. Theories are in part post hoc rationalisations—the plausible stories which we tell ourselves to account retrospectively for our actions.

If only I could explain myself with such impeccable clarity! This paper entitled Theory for Practice by David Sless shows that when somebody can explain a concept or set of concepts without relying on jargon or buzzwords, it is extremely powerful. This is because it demonstrates a full understanding; to the point where there are no holes in comprehension of the explanation of the presented concepts due to the use of the syntax of an exclusive club.

Aside from the writing style of this article, the concepts within are also so very pertinent to what I've been thinking/writing about with process and design theory. Not only does it suggest that rigid process isn't as valuable for solving problems as it is for teaching people how to solve problems, but it also articulates my feelings about moving from a linear way of working, to an 'inspect and adapt' or Agile mindset... and that's just a little bit of it. if this is 'Constructionism', I must find out more about it.

Abstract from the paper: This paper discusses a constructionist approach to information design and contrasts it with the more widely used constructivist approach. The paper suggests that there are five principles of information design: politics, position, parsimony, politeness, and performance. Of these, politeness is the most important.

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January 12, 2004

Faceted Classification: How-To

How to Make a Faceted Classification and Put It On the Web

Faceted classifications are increasingly common on the World Wide Web, especially on commercial web sites (Adkisson 2003). This is not surprising--facets are a natural way of organizing things. Many web designers have probably rediscovered them independently by asking, "What other ways would people want to view this data? What's another way to slice it?" A survey of the literature on applying facets on the web (Denton 2003) shows that librarians think it a good idea but are unsure how to do it, while the web people who are already doing it are often unaware of S.R. Ranganathan, the Classification Research Group, and the decades of history behind facets.

This paper will attempt to bridge the gap by giving procedures and advice on all the steps involved in making a faceted classification and putting it on the web. Web people will benefit by having a rigorous seven-step process to follow for creating faceted classifications, and librarians will benefit by understanding how to store such a classification on a computer and make it available on the web. The paper is meant for both webmasters and information architects who do not know a lot about library and information science, and librarians who do not know a lot about building databases and web sites. The classifications are meant for small or medium-sized sets of things, meant to go on public or private web sites, when there is a need to organize items for which no existing classification will do. It is certainly not the intent of this paper to show how to build another universal classification, nor to describe how a library that uses a faceted classification scheme can put their catalogue online.

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January 09, 2004

Cool FOAF things

FOAF (Friend of a Friend) is ...a way to describe yourself -- your name, email address, and the people you're friends with -- using XML and RDF. This allows software to process these descriptions, perhaps as part of an automated search engine, to discover information about your and the communities of which you're a member. FOAF has the potential to drive many new interesting developments in online communities.

Plink (People Link) is like a kinda techie/underground version of Friendster and has links to cool widgets like foaf-a-matic � a javascript application that generates your very own FOAF file from a web form.

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January 06, 2004

C4 ID cards

Now, that's how you do an Identity Card. Well done Foundation 33!

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Graphic Design Books

I was putting together a reading list yesterday, of good books on the fundamentals of Graphic Design for a User Experience 'faucet of knowledge' for the design team here at 'The Corporation'. Here's what I compiled with help from Miss Caroline Smith, a fellow reprobate and pretender.

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