An experiment in model-driven conceptual database design

Abstract

The article presents the results of an experiment we conducted with database professionals in order to evaluate an approach to automatic design of the initial conceptual database model based on collaborative business process models. The source business process model is represented by BPMN, while the target conceptual model is represented by the UML class diagram. The results confirm those already obtained in a case-study-based evaluation, as well as those of an earlier controlled experiment conducted with undergraduate students. The evaluation implies that the proposed approach and implemented generator enable automatic generation of the target conceptual model with a high percentage of completeness and precision. The experiment also confirms that the automatically generated model can be efficiently used as a starting point for manual design of the target model, since it significantly shortens the estimated efforts and actual time spent to obtain the target model in contrast to the manual design from scratch.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The previous research [21, 24, 26] indicates that BPMs are characterised by some typical concepts (such as participants and objects) and facts (such as creation of objects and usage of objects) that enable the automatic data model synthesis. Those concepts and facts are inherent to BPMs, but their representation may differ in different modelling languages. Independently of the used modelling notation, those concepts and facts have certain properties, meanings and roles (we use the semantic capacity term) that allow us to derive a conclusion about the corresponding data model concepts (entity types, relationship types, etc.) and rules for mapping source BPM to the target data model.

  2. 2.

    Strictly speaking, it should be 1:*, but 0..1:* is more flexible and provides proper handling of some other process patterns, such as message passing. This issue, as well as other unresolved process patterns, will be the part of future work.

  3. 3.

    https://www.eclipse.org/.

  4. 4.

    https://www.eclipse.org/bpmn2-modeler/.

  5. 5.

    https://eclipse.org/papyrus/.

  6. 6.

    https://www.eclipse.org/atl/.

  7. 7.

    https://wiki.eclipse.org/MDT/BPMN2.

  8. 8.

    https://www.eclipse.org/modeling/emf.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all participants of the experiment for their voluntary participation and valuable contribution.

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Correspondence to Drazen Brdjanin.

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Communicated by Dr. Iris Reinhartz-Berger, Wided Guédria, and Palash Bera.

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Brdjanin, D., Banjac, G., Banjac, D. et al. An experiment in model-driven conceptual database design. Softw Syst Model 18, 1859–1883 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10270-018-0672-7

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Keywords

  • BPMN
  • Collaborative business process model
  • Conceptual database model
  • Evaluation
  • Experiment
  • Model-driven
  • UML