What is BIRD?

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Eclipse Free BIRD Tools aims to provide a free set of tools to aid the development and understanding of the BIRD artefacts.

It also aims to enable and fast track the development of commercial tools through the sharing of re-usable ideas , models , notations, and software components.

The sharable artefacts come in 3 forms, and each one builds on the previous. These are:

Transformation and testing models

Eclipse Free BIRD Tools provides a set of UML class diagrams named AORTA for describing semantic transformations and tests.

These models supplement and link to the existing SMCubes UML model and Logical Data Model which already exist in BIRD to describe Meta Data.

The semantic transformations model links to the Logical Data Model, and the testing model link to the semantic transformations model to demonstrate full test coverage.

The semantic transformation model and Logical Data Model can be considered together as a semantic layer.

We also provide a technical transformation model which is called DaTuM (Dataset Transformation Model) which represents a chain of data set transformations similar to a set of chained SQL views. From this model we can generate the text of VTL transformations or a chain of SQL views. The technical transformation model links to the semantic datamodel so that we can link from an element in the sematic transformation model to a group of elements in the technical transformations.

DaTuM also has an advanced mode which can transform data directly from the Logical Data Model concisely using the concepts of Structs and Arrays from SQL 1999.

These models are provided as documented diagrams at Models and are completely technology independent.

Note that the class diagrams have only attributes and relationships , and no operations, which keeps them simple.

A visual and textual notation

Eclipse Free BIRD Tools provides a visual Notation for displaying instances of the models, and a text notation for storing these, allowing for interoperability between any tool that adopts the same notation.

This is inspired by BPMN which is a notation for describing business processes.

BPMN is managed my the Object Management Group standard body, who also manage UML.

BPMN has a model at its core, a well documented way of describing instances of the model visually, and a formal way of storing instances of the model as text.

This means that if software tools implement the standard exactly then they can all open and edit visually the same text version of a business process. This has enable the development of over 70 tools for BPMN

A set of reusable software components

Using the mature and well supported open source Eclipse Modelling Framework, we provide a set of software components for visualizing, navigating, creating, editing, persisting, querying, transforming, migrating, refactoring, and forward engineering models and instances of the models.

These are released with a commercially friendly open source license, and can be used in commercial software.

These components are available on the EFBT Github Repository along with a wiki giving technical advice of how to build and deploy them. They are also combined into a usable application.

The Eclipse Modelling Framework itself has many companies offering free and commercial support, and it is used in for industry by companies such as Bosch, Seimens , Thales, Nasa, and also in a number of banks.