Two metamodels for application system development conventional vs. object-oriented approach

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Abstract

Two metamodels for software application systems development are presented and compared with each other. They represent two methodologies for the software development process. The first is a four level metamodel providing full life-cycle support through its four abstraction levels: user level, functional design level, technical design level, and implementation level. With its functional design level supporting an entity-relationship modelling approach and its technical design and implementation levels supporting the data abstraction approach it reflects the state-of the art of currently practiced application system development techniques.

The second metamodel adopts an object-oriented view on the whole development process including its functional design phase. On that level, data modelling and function modelling categories are combined to a uniform class category which serves as the key concept of an object-oriented application modelling procedure.

In this article, the two metamodels and the corresponding development procedures are explained in detail, discussed and contrasted with each other. There are strong arguments that our future systems will not only technically be object-oriented but also be based on objectoriented application models. It is shown, that existing modelling procedures need not completely be rewritten but can be transformed to object-oriented ones in a natural and evolutionary way.