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Metapattern: Context and Time in Information Models

 
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As the author is quick to point out this is an innovative and highly original
work in conceptual information modeling. After a formal presentation of metapattern
terminology and key concepts Wisse jumps into the middle of several issues in
conceptual modeling. For example, the book hopes to explain that an object in
context is different from the absolute objects assumed by traditional OO models.
The metapattern presumes that an object's behaviors are completely different from
one context to another. The metapattern, by emphasizing context over object, enables
you to adequately describe the enormous variety found in real life. Traditional OO
modelers should be ready to leave behind many dogmas. In the metapattern, time has
drastic consequences for objects. In addition, OO designers should be forewarned.
The metapattern is not a method for technical design or software engineering.
'Metapattern' is a formalization of context, time and validity in information models.
This book is actually several books within one and you ought to pay careful
attention to the order you read the chapters. The middle parts compare the
metapattern to recent work by authors James J. O'Dell, Haim Kilov, August-Wilhelm
Scheer, David C. Hay and Martin Fowler. These chapters supplement the theoretical
explanation of the metapattern's most fundamental characteristics. A necessary
warm-up before tackling the challenging terminology and concepts in the first four
chapters is to read both appendices and the introduction. Wisse's schematic diagrams
are simple and elegant but weren't enough. This reviewer wanted additional, concrete
explanations of core ideas. Immense value would come from more concrete comparisons
and examples. The author's frequent tangential remarks, while doubtless precise and
true, were distracting. Frankly, I tried hard to understand the metapattern. I read
the book cover to cover, then re-read chapters in a different order, all the while
investigating his ideas using concrete examples, as best I could. There were glimmers
of excitement as I encountered familiar concepts from metaphysics, epistemology, set
theory, information modeling and object-oriented modeling. However, all too often I
missed the point of his arguments. Reading does not entail understanding. Perhaps I
am too much of a software engineer and not enough of a conceptual modeler. I must
apologize to the author, but the fairest thing for me to say about the metapattern
is that I still don't understand it.(Scott M. Allman, Feb 2001)


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