Developing Vocabularies with Multiple Distributed Teams

Track: Collaboration, Core Technologies, Large-Scale Architectures

Audience Level: High Level/Technical view

Time: Tuesday, November 15 14:00

Author: Jim Gabriel, digitalML Ltd.

Keywords: Schema, Metadata, Stylesheet, Repository


Sharing the development and maintenance of XML schemas and transformations across multiple developers presents a number of challenges. We think and code in terms of objects – customerID, address, etc. – yet capture all required combinations and permutations of these objects in clumsy schema and transformation files. As a deployment mechanism, files are acceptable. However, when development of those files is distributed over multiple teams and locations, the file as a container mechanism becomes unacceptable.

To support multiple distributed development teams, a development environment for schema families must support the concept of object-level management of the objects described by the schemas. This raises the need for a truly single-source object modeling environment, presented to the developer community in a multi-user working environment. Via a robust check-in and check-out mechanism, developers should work in private single-user workspaces, accessing multi-user resources in a central view of the model. This necessitates locking strategies, conflict resolution, impact analysis, coherent object-level version management, user groups, permissions, user roles, a release mechanism, and a deployment mechanism.

This paper describes the constraints governing multiple developer environments for schema families, explains each of the above requirements, and explores in detail the process and workflow for those involved. Where relevant, the presentation of this paper draws on case studies from actual projects, and provides recommendations for best practices in collaborative schema development projects.