Constraint Loader

Introduction

(Beta)

This transformation loads constraints from an external source and adds them to the model. More specifically: it adds constraints only to the schemas that have been selected for processing.

NOTE: at the moment only Excel files are supported as source, and only SBVR constraints can be loaded. Support for OCL constraints is a future work item.

Background

Constraints on schema elements (e.g. on classes) are usually defined directly in the conceptual schema. However, in some situations constraints may need to be defined and maintained separate from the schema. One possible reason for this is that the constraints are not generally applicable, in other words they only apply to specific use cases. Examples of such constraints are AIXM business rules. In such a situation, constraints must be loaded into the schema on demand, depending upon the use case.

Format of External Sources with Constraint Information

Excel Workbook

Constraint information can be stored in an Excel workbook. The file type is expected to be .xlsx

The format of the workbook must be as follows:

  • the constraints must be defined on a single sheet named “Constraints” (case is ignored)
  • row numbering must be continuous, and start with 1
  • row 1 contains the header information for the following rows
  • the following columns are of interest (case of column names is ignored):
    • “Name” (required) – contains the name of a constraint
    • “Text” (required) – contains the text of a constraint
    • “Comments” (optional) – describes the constraint
    • “Schema Package” (optional) – name of the package that contains the class the constraint is specified for (for cases in which classes with the same name can be found in multiple packages)
    • “Class” (optional) – name of the class the constraint is specified for; the name must be exactly as defined in the conceptual schema
      • NOTE: it may appear strange that the class name is optional. The reason for this is that the constraint loader attempts to parse the name of the relevant class directly from the text. Class names stated in the sheet are given preference. If the name of the class that provides the context for a constraint cannot be found, or if the conceptual schema does not contain a class with that name, then a message is logged and the constraint is ignored. In general, it is recommended to explicitly state the name of the class to which a constraint applies in the Excel sheet.

NOTE: in the future the transformation could be extended to be more lenient with respect to formatting of the Excel file. Aspects like column names could be made configurable, to support the preferences of a given community.

Configuration

The following sections specifiy the configuration options for this transformation.

Class

The class for this transformer implementation is de.interactive_instruments.ShapeChange.Transformation.Constraints.ConstraintLoader.

Parameters

The following parameters are supported by this transformation.

Parameter Name Applies to rule Required / Optional Type Default Value Explanation
 constraintExcelFile (none – default behavior) Optional String The file location of an Excel file with constraint information. The path is either absolute or relative to the execution folder of ShapeChange.The file name should include the file type “.xlsx”. If it does not then “.xlsx” is automatically appended to the name before loading the file.If the parameter was not provided then the transformation would simply not load any constraints.

 Rules

At the moment no specific rules are defined for this transformation.

Map Entries

At the moment no map entries are defined for this transformation.

Sample Configuration

<Transformer
  class="de.interactive_instruments.ShapeChange.Transformation.Constraints.ConstraintLoader"
  id="step2" input="step1" mode="enabled">
  <parameters>
    <ProcessParameter name="constraintExcelFile" value="some/path/constraints.xlsx"/>
  </parameters>
</Transformer>
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