Higher-Order Process Modeling: Product-Lining, Variability Modeling and Beyond

Johannes Neubauer
(Chair of Programming Systems,TU Dortmund, Germany)
Bernhard Steffen
(Chair of Programming Systems, TU Dortmund, Germany)
Tiziana Margaria
(Chair of Service and Software Engineering, Universität Potsdam, Germany)

We present a graphical and dynamic framework for binding and execution of business) process models. It is tailored to integrate 1) ad hoc processes modeled graphically, 2) third party services discovered in the (Inter)net, and 3) (dynamically) synthesized process chains that solve situation-specific tasks, with the synthesis taking place not only at design time, but also at runtime. Key to our approach is the introduction of type-safe stacked second-order execution contexts that allow for higher-order process modeling. Tamed by our underlying strict service-oriented notion of abstraction, this approach is tailored also to be used by application experts with little technical knowledge: users can select, modify, construct and then pass (component) processes during process execution as if they were data. We illustrate the impact and essence of our framework along a concrete, realistic (business) process modeling scenario: the development of Springer's browser-based Online Conference Service (OCS). The most advanced feature of our new framework allows one to combine online synthesis with the integration of the synthesized process into the running application. This ability leads to a particularly flexible way of implementing self-adaption, and to a particularly concise and powerful way of achieving variability not only at design time, but also at runtime.

In Anindya Banerjee, Olivier Danvy, Kyung-Goo Doh and John Hatcliff: Semantics, Abstract Interpretation, and Reasoning about Programs: Essays Dedicated to David A. Schmidt on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday (Festschrift for Dave Schmidt), Manhattan, Kansas, USA, 19-20th September 2013, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 129, pp. 259–283.
Published: 19th September 2013.

ArXived at: http://dx.doi.org/10.4204/EPTCS.129.16 bibtex PDF
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