The Methods & Tools Special Interest Group and the Interoperability Special Interest Group held today a joint meeting at 8 pm Central European Time.
- TLB/PIA installers
- Document control
U.S Environmental Protection Agency (represented by Bill BARRETT), Malcolm WOODMAN, AmsterCHEM (represented by Jasper van BATEN), Bryan Research & Engineering (represented by Michael HLAVINKA), Michel PONS (contractor for CO-LaN as Chief Technology Officer)
The Methods & Tools SIG and the Interoperability SIG reviewed the current list of actions.
Regarding the CAPE-OPEN Type Libraries/Primary Interop Assemblies installers, action on suitably renaming files making up the CAPE-OPEN IDL is considered as finalized. The Methods & Tools SIG and the Interoperability SIG restated their willingness to see CO-LaN Management Board taking a decision on the licensing scheme to be adopted for various products delivered by CO-LaN, including the CAPE-OPEN Type Libraries, Primary Interop Assemblies and their installers.
Document control is the next point discussed. The background is that CO-LaN has been using for years now SVN-based repositories in order to control its various pieces of source code, including the IDL files making up the CAPE-OPEN IDL as well as the source code enabling the creation of the CAPE-OPEN TLB/PIA and their installers. Recently CO-LaN has been releasing new interface specifications, i.e. the Custom Data interface specification and the Flowsheet Monitoring interface specification. These releases put to work the repository that holds the CAPE-OPEN IDL, an event that had not occurred really since the release of CAPE-OPEN Thermodynamic and Physical Properties interface specification in its version 1.1.
So this event raises questions about the best way to manage the cycle of interface specification creation, maintenance and release. While an SVN-based repository appears to be suitable for a code-like file such as an IDL file, a CAPE-OPEN interface specification is first of all documented and released as a textual specification which is a Microsoft Word document. An SVN-based repository cannot let one easily pinpoint the differences between two versions of the same Microsoft Word file. So CO-LaN SIGs have been relying on exchanging Word files between their members in order to communicate various stages of development of a given textual CAPE-OPEN interface specification, keeping tabs on progress through increments in version number buried in the document itself or attached to the file name. The Methods & Tools SIG and the Interoperability SIG discussed the possiblity to use SharePoint/Microsoft Teams in order to help with document control but this does not answer the issue of consistency between the textual specification (Word) and the implementation specification (IDL). The SIGs see a need for a software environment/application that insures consistency between all steps of documenting and releasing a CAPE-OPEN interface specification.
The SIGs see possibilities in a tool such as Modelio which is currently used to develop and store the CAPE-OPEN UML model. The UML model is used to create the UML diagrams that are populating the CAPE-OPEN textual specifications. Still using Modelio is also bringing in more consistency issues nowadays since information documented in Word needs to be copied and pasted into the UML model written through Modelio. Also, in order to work out properly, the entire CAPE-OPEN UML model has to be stored through Modelio, adding further issues related to document control. Having a single source for managing the textual specification with the capability to create from it the implementation specification would streamline the development, maintenance and release process.
Because of time constraints and in order for the meeting participants to further review a document recently circulated, review of the proposal for versioning of the CAPE-OPEN standard was postponed to the next joint meeting.
The next joint meeting of the Methods & Tools Special Interest Group and of the Interoperability Special Interest Group is scheduled for February 19, 2020.