CaseTalk – Data Modeling by Example
Marco Wobben, BCP Software
Q: Data modeling is described as a craft and once completed the results may even seem artful. Yet outsiders may see data modeling as abstract, time consuming or even unnecessary. In many cases the data modeler interviews business experts, studies piles of requirements, talks some more, and then, hocus pocus, presents a diagram with boxes, crow’s feet, arrows, etc… Then the slow process begins to keep the diagrams up to date, explain what the diagrams behold, and sometimes even data modelers themselves may get lost while maintaining a growing set of data models and requirements.
A: Fact based information modeling is the very opposite of abstract. Fact based information modeling uses natural language which expresses facts that are intelligible for both business and technical people. It does not require people to understand the modeler’s magical language of boxes and arrows. Although models can be presented in several diagramming notations, they can be validated in natural language at all times. This gives both data modelers, technically skilled people, and business people the benefit of having a well-documented and grounded data model. Therefore the method of Fact Oriented Modeling is also known as “Data Modeling by Example”.
- key elements of fact oriented modeling;
- data modeling with facts;
- visualizing the model;
- validating and verbalizing;
- transforming and generating output (E.g.: SQL, Relational, UML, XSD, PowerDesigner, etc.).
Marco Wobben is director of BCP Software and has been developing software well over 30 years. He has developed a wide range of applications from financial expert software, software to remotely operate bridges, automating DWH generating and loading, and many back- and front office and web applications. For the past 10 years, he is product manager and lead developer of CaseTalk, the CASE tool for fact based information modeling, which is widely used in universities in the Netherlands and across the globe.