How to Series Part 1: Beginner
Innoslate® introduces terms that may or may not be familiar to you. These terms come from traditional and new systems engineering terminologies. The first set of terms is entity, relationship, and attributes (ERA). Entities are the “things” we capture and put into bins of information. The idea is to use these “things” to describe the system. Relationships show how the entities are related to each other. Finally, attributes can be ways to modify the entities and/or the relationships.
As I remember from grade school, in English language we have nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. So if we are creating a structured way to describe a system, we want to have the equivalent of nouns, verbs, etc. So, our entities are essentially the nouns of the language, relationships are the verbs, attributes on the entities are the adjectives, and attributes on the relationships are the adverbs.
This traditional set of terms comes originally from Peter Chen in a 1976 paper on “Entity-relationship” modeling. He later mapped these natural language descriptions to ER diagrams in his paper entitled: “English, Chinese and ER diagrams” published in 1997. ERA from the basis for many recent and new modeling “languages.”
Every tool environment needs to support the various systems engineering languages that are used for modeling. Whether it be SysML, UML, DoDAF DM2 or IDEF modeling languages, every tool balances some type of language into their backbone to help the user navigate the tool and create the environment for a modeling language they can relate to.
The reality is that the languages mentioned tend to be complex and they tended to be more diagram focused. Innoslate® was designed to be an easy to use professional tool that encompassed the full life cycle and implemented a language that was life cycle driven.
A group of experienced systems engineers realized the problem with the recent systems engineering languages. The Lifecycle Modeling Language or LML was developed and approved by the LML Steering Committee as an open standard in 2013 and is the primary modeling language for Innoslate®. For more in depth information on LML please visit www.lifecyclemodeling.org.
LML was designed with 6 major goals:
- To be easy to understand
- To be easy to extend
- To support both functional and object oriented approaches within the same design
- To be a language that can be understood by most system stakeholders, not just Systems Engineers
- To support systems from cradle to grave
- To support both evolutionary and revolutionary changes to system plans and designs over the lifetime of a system
Fourteen (14) primary entity classes form the foundation for the ontology (the set of entity types and their relationships) or database schema in Innoslate. Of course new classes can be added in Innoslate to the ontology per project using our built-in Schema Extender, but the main set of classes cannot be deleted. Hidden, yes, but they cannot be deleted.
Innoslate has also adopted the SysML language primarily because of the popularity of the language with many systems engineers and the constructs in the models are very similar. LML is still the primary language of Innoslate, but having SysML provides more views of the information that some systems engineers have come to expect.
The design of Innoslate was meant to be user friendly and to simplify the language for systems engineers and program managers. Innoslate needed a language that encompassed the entire lifecycle, much like the tool does so we chose to use LML. LML is as easy to use as Innoslate so they are the perfect match for each other in the modeling language world.
This blog may not have given you all the terminology you need, but hopefully it’s a good start. Please look at all our documentation and call if you have any questions … and don’t forget to attend our upcoming webinars!