Monday, March 2, 2015

My interview on Social Media and Society: what I said (and what I didn't)

My recent interview on the evolution of social media and its role in modern society is available on YouTube (in Italian only, sorry about that).

While the 3+ minutes of speech necessarily had to be a general overview on the role and recent changes of social media, I wish to summarise here the some technical aspects of it.

As I mentioned in the presentation:



  • social media changed a lot since their early days, from being consumed on PCs to mobile devices, from general purpose social networks connecting friends to digital stages where we "sell" our life to the entire world, from places where to share personal information to platforms where to publish also objective information coming from the real world experience.
  • social media are nowadays a valuable source of information for companies, who look for (and find) their customers through social media marketing and advertising, and public institutions and researchers, that can leverage on a large amount of data for providing benefits to our everyday life
YourExpo2015 - the Instagram Photo Challenge of Expo2015 MilanoWhat I didn't say is how you can do that. Well, it's pretty simple. 

The ingredients of the recipe: 
  • A lot of users sharing their profile
  • A lot of content (photos, statuses, geotags, descriptions) shared by people
  • (which makes up a VERY big data problem)
  • crawlers capturing this (or stream capturing systems) and storage as needed
  • MODELS of the context, the problem and the solution
  • and DATA ANALYSIS TOOLS for studying the data and extracting meaningful information
To me, the most valuable points are MODELS and ANALYSIS TOOLS. We are doing a lot of experiments on mixing model-driven techniques with semantic analysis, NLP, and social media monitoring. One example of our experiments is the YourExpo2015 Instagram Photo Challenge
Have a look and participate if you like. More on this coming soon!








To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The IFML book - OMG's Interaction Flow Modeling Language explained

After almost one year of work, the result of our efforts finally came to light in late December 2014. Since it was almost Christmas time, we decided to wait 2014 for the launch. But now, here we are.
OMG Press and Morgan Kauffman published our book:

Interaction Flow Modeling Language:

Model-Driven UI Engineering of Web and Mobile Apps with IFML


Additionally, I can announce officially we will have a launch event at the next OMG meeting in Reston, VA, USA, in March 2015.
The book introduces the reader to the novel OMG standard Interaction Flow Modeling Language (IFML). Authors Marco Brambilla and Piero Fraternali are also authors of the IFML standard and wrote this book to explain the main concepts of the language. They effectively illustrate how IFML can be applied in practice to the specification and implementation of complex web and mobile applications, featuring rich interfaces, both browser based and native, client side components and widgets, and connections to data sources, business logic and services.
The book provides you with unique insight into the benefits of engineering web and mobile applications with an agile model driven approach. Concepts are explained through intuitive examples, drawn from real-world applications. The authors accompany you in the voyage from visual specifications of requirements to design and code production. The book distills more than twenty years of practice and provides a mix of methodological principles and concrete and immediately applicable techniques. Dr. Richard M. Soley, chairman of the OMG, wrote the foreword of the book.

You can buy the book in paperback (on Amazon or any other bookstore) or electronic format (Kindle on Amazon; PDF e-book on Elsevier store).

If you are looking for some basic introduction to model-driven engineering, you can check out this book: Model-Driven Software Engineering in Practice (by Brambilla, Cabot and Wimmer).



To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bran Selic, Mark Van Den Brand and Marco Brambilla: Panel on State of Modeling.

Within the Modelsward conference held at ESEO in Angers, France, the warm up session has been delegated to a panel on the state of modelling, where panelists Bran Selic, Mark Van Den Brand and myself discussed about their vision on modelling.

Plenty of good points came up both from the panelists and the audience.

The main message from Bran Selic was:

  • Non-functional modelling is wrong, both in terminology and semantic senses 
  • the so called "ities" are more than 50, and still each of them needs to be covered with different techniques and tools
  • The term implies a second-order importance, and a negative definition which are bad by themselves
  • Furthermore, you cannot cover them separately wrt functional requirements, because it's not true you can cover them through aspect-oriented or separation of concern. For instance, you cannot put in "reliability" to a system after you have covered the functional aspects only
  • So, best to call them "qualities" of the system. Even in ancient Greece, quality was undistinguishable from the thing itself

On the other side, Mark Van Den Brand was pointing to:

  •  the risk for software engineers to become obsolete, because every domain expert is going to build his own tools and languages by himself
  • the software engineers then should become more interdisciplinary, while not delve into becoming domain experts of some sort.
My provocative message at the panel was that:
  • Modeling is dead! In the sense we cannot expect 
  • We should move to Un-Modeling Practices, that is: remove modelling as a tool for everybody, using modelling tools as experts, and let people enjoy only the little bit they deserve, without forcing MDD frameworks, which are usually not easily accepted
  • Modeling should be used under the hood and each actor should be shown the proper tool (including programmers, who are not easily buying the model-driven approaches at all)
  • This will not be possible until language and tool designers will be software engineers only (just think at the terrible modelling tools we are able to build).
  • Here is the slides I used for my pitch:


I think all this poses extremely complex challenges to the modelling and software engineering community. It's up to us to keep up with these challenges, or become obsolete (aka. remain a very small niche in the software development world).


To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The business value of Mobile + Cloud + Internet of Things



Once again, this year I gave a presentation at SMAU Milano together with WebRatio (with Matteo Sassi as a co-speaker).

The purpose this time was to show and inspire on how Mobile, Cloud and IoT are becoming concrete business opportunities.

We tried to give a different interpretation to these technology trends: At first glance, the technologies that integrate Cloud, Mobile andInternet of Things (IoT) are attractive only to industry leaders with the ability to invest huge budgets and resources (such as Google Nest or Philips HUE, for example). These technologies are becoming attractive for individual developers who implement solutions thanks to open-source hardware and systems, such as Arduino and Raspberry PI which then inevitably force them to make design compromises.

We showed how conceptual solutions like the one proposed by WebRatio offer a code less approach that gives companies the opportunity to enter as main players, without limitations, in this new Mobile, Cloud and IoT market.

By using WebRatio Platform, companies can model apps with the IFML language (Interaction Flow Modeling Language) and "rationalize" the interaction with the IoT networks (think of the interaction of the sensors on which the "Internet of Things" technology is based) and put them into operation directly in the Cloud. In this way, companies save on infrastructure costs and reduce the cost and time to design and build applications.  It is possible to design new applications in this context caring only to use the correct interfaces and focusing on the opportunities provided by this new technology.

Here is the presentation we gave (partly in Italian, but very visual):

And here is a short video of the audience:

 

 together with a few pictures of the event:




My other presentations at SMAU given in the past are:

Mobile, Cloud, BPM through MDD for fostering the business. Presentation at SMAU 2013

BPM and Cloud, the ideal partners. SMAU 2012 presentation

Seminar on Social BPM at SMAU 2011 Milano

Trends and challenges in Business Process Management (BPM) at SMAU 2010


And my personal page on the SMAU site is:

http://www.smau.it/speakers/marco.brambilla/

 To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Cloud meets Model-Driven Engineering


Cloud computing is enormously promising in terms of providing scalable and elastic infrastructure for software applications, as well as innovative business opportunities.
However, its complexity (both in terms of understanding and adoption) is often underestimated.

That's why Model-Driven Engineering (MDE), whose focus is to elevate conceptual models to first class artefacts of the software development process, can come at hand also for addressing software issues on the cloud.

MDE is enormously promising in terms of automating tedious or error prone parts of systems engineering. There is a huge potential in identifying synergies between MDE and cloud computing; this is the focus of the workshop CloudMDE 2014. This year, the MODELS conference will host the second edition of the workshop, in Valencia (Spain), on September 30, 2014.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the workshop call.

Model Driven Engineering (MDE) features powerful tools, including for constructing models and managing them (e.g., via transformation, code generation, merging), though numerous challenges and difficulties arrive in adopting and deploying the tools. MDE principles, practices and tools are also becoming more widely used in industrial scenarios. Many of these scenarios are traditional IT development (e.g., focusing on code generation), and emphasis on novel or evolving deployment platforms has yet to be seen.
Cloud computing is a computational model in which applications, data, and IT resources are provided as services to users over the Internet. Cloud computing exploits distributed computers to proxvide on-demand resources and services over a network (usually the Internet) with the scale and reliability of a data centre. There are different types of clouds; organizations can provide hardware for clouds internally (internal clouds), or a third party can provide it externally (hosted clouds). A cloud might be restricted to a single organization or group (private clouds), available to the general public over the Internet (public clouds), or shared by multiple groups or organizations (hybrid clouds).

Let's put them together! A nice example of this is the brand new cloud implementation of WebRatio.

All the papers presented at the workshop are available online as CEUR-WS proceedings at:

http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1242/



To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Monday, September 8, 2014

IFML: opensource editor and university program


A bunch of new things are happening related to the recent OMG standard IFML (Interaction Flow Modeling Language):



1. A new opensource editor for the standard has been released on GitHub, together with appropriate introductory instructions and welcome page, thanks to the collaboration of WebRatio, Politecnico di Milano and Ecole des Mines de Nantes within the AutoMobile EU SME Research Project. The Editor has been developed as an EMF-based Eclipse plug-in using Obeo Sirius framework.



2. A new University Program has been released by WebRatio, which allows free access to the WebRatio Platform licenses, online multimedia and interactive learning materials, and free access to two WebRatio IFML Certification sessions.




3. And finally, stay tuned for the upcoming official delivery of Version 1.0 of the IFML standard, together with the new book on IFML, scheduled to be published shortly by Morgan Kauffman and the OMG Press (and already available for preview on Amazon!).

(and look at my tutorial on IFML to learn more on the language)

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mobile app development - Extensions for IFML modelling language, tool and code generator presented at MobiWIS



Front-end design of mobile applications is a complex and multidisciplinary task, where many perspectives intersect and the user experience must be perfectly tailored to the application objectives. However, development of mobile user interactions is still largely a manual task, which yields to high risks of errors, inconsistencies and inefficiencies.

The contribution of the AutoMobile research project (lead by WebRatio) is a model-driven approach to mobile application development based on the IFML standard by the OMG.


We recently wrote a paper on the subject, which got accepted at the MobiWIS 2014 conference, in Barcelona. In this paper we propose a model-driven approach to mobile application development based on the IFML standard. We propose an extension of the Interaction Flow Modeling Language tailored to mobile applications and we describe our implementation experience that comprises the development of automatic code generators for cross-platform mobile applications based on HTML5, CSS and JavaScript optimized for the Apache Cordova framework.

We show the approach at work on a popular mobile application, we report on the application of the approach on an industrial application development project and we provide a productivity comparison with traditional approaches.

 Eric Umuhoza, affiliated with Politecnico di Milano and Ecole des Mines de Nantes, presented the paper at MobiWIS 2014 regarding the research conducted in the AutoMobile project, lead by WebRatio.

 Here are the slides of the presentation:


 

and here is the link to the paper published by Springer:
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-10359-4_15



To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fifteen Years of Industrial Model-Driven Development in Software Front-ends. Find WebRatio and IFML on the Novatica Journal (in Spanish!)


Novatica, the official journal of the Spanish association of Computer Science Technicians (ATI), just published a monographic issue on "Adopción industrial de la ingeniería del software dirigida por models" (industrial adoption of model-driven software engineering practices).

Together with a set of interesting experiences mainly in the Spanish market, the issue also features an article about WebML, WebRatio and IFML, written by Stefano Butti and myself, and graciously translated to Spanish by Matteo Silva and the WebRatio team in Latin America.
The paper discusses the history behind the standard IFML, recently adopted by the Object Management Group. We show how our initial proposal called WebML has been an incubator for research and industrial exploitation on conceptual modeling, exploiting existing experiences in the field and continuously addressing new challenges concerning abstractions, methods, tools, and technologies. We summarize the essence of the approach and we show the supporting modelling tool WebRatio at work.

This journal issue is a valuable resource, especially for Spanish-speaking people, as you will be able to find a comprehensive coverage of the model-driven market in Spain, and more in general some interesting industrial experiences with model-driven approaches (all written in Spanish!).

For your convenience, you can find the English and Spanish preprint versions of the articles here, in the form of WebRatio white papers, courtesy of WebRatio and Novatica.



Here below you can find the original front page of our article as published in Novatica:




To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pattern-Based Specification of Crowdsourcing Applications - ICWE 2014 best paper

I'm really proud to announce that our paper "Pattern-Based Specification of Crowdsourcing Applications" has received the BEST PAPER award at ICWE 2014 (International Conference on Web Engineering), held in Toulouse in July 2014. The paper was authored by Alessandro Bozzon, Marco Brambilla, Stefano Ceri, Andrea Mauri, and Riccardo Volonterio.

The work addresses the fact that in many crowd-based applications, the interaction with performers is decomposed in several tasks that, collectively, produce the desired results.
A number of emerging crowd-based applications cover very different scenarios, including opinion mining, multimedia data annotation, localised information gathering, marketing campaigns, expert response gathering, and so on.
In most of these scenarios, applications can be decomposed in tasks that collectively produce their results; Tasks interactions give rise to arbitrarily complex workflows.

In this paper we propose methods and tools for designing crowd-based workflows as interacting tasks.
We describe the modelling concepts that are useful in such framework, including typical workflow patterns, whose function is to decompose a cognitively complex task into simple interacting tasks so that the complex task is co-operatively solved.
We then discuss how workflows and patterns are managed by CrowdSearcher, a system for designing, deploying and monitoring applications on top of crowd-based systems, including social networks and crowdsourcing platforms. Tasks performed by humans consist of simple operations which apply to homogeneous objects; the complexity of aggregating and interpreting task results is embodied within the framework. We show our approach at work on a validation scenario and we report quantitative findings, which highlight the effect of workflow design on the final results.

Here are the slides presented by Alessandro Bozzon during the ICWE conference:


Here is Alessandro Bozzon presenting:




and here is the picture of the actual award:

ICWE 2014 Best Paper Award Certificate to Pattern-Based Specification of Crowdsourcing Applications. Bozzon, Brambilla, Ceri, Mauri, Volonterio

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IFML - Interaction Flow Modeling Language 1.0 - My tutorial on UI and UX modeling & design at ICWE 2014

This year, ICWE - International Conference on Web Engineering, took place in Toulouse, France.

Given the upcoming adoption by the OMG - Object Management Group of IFML, I decided to give a tutorial on it there. IFML, the Interaction Flow Modeling Language (IFML) is designed for expressing content, user interaction and control behaviour of the front-end of software applications, as well as the binding to the persistence and business logic layers. IFML is the missing piece for modeling the front end of software applications and perfectly complements other modeling dimensions in broad system modeling projects. Therefore, IFML works best when integrated with other modeling languages in the MDA suite, such as UML and BPMN. This tutorial illustrates the basic concepts of IFML, presents the design best practices and integration with other modelling languages, and discusses some industrial experiences (also featuring quantitative measures of productivity) achieved by the companion tool WebRatio. At the end of the tutorial, attendees will get a general knowledge about IFML (they will be able to design simple models and to derive models from existing interfaces), will be able to associate front-end design with system modelling at large, will see the associated MDE tool WebRatio at work, and will get a glimpse of real-life industrial applications developed for large enterprises. This will let them appreciate the advantages of a model-driven development approach at work within large-scale industrial project.

Here are the slides of my tutorial:


And here are some pictures taken by some attendees:







To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).