Master Data Management links: February

I have a slightly bad habit of leaving lots of tabs open in my browser until I get round to looking at them properly. Unfortunately my laptop seems to be getting a tad unreliable and after the last crash Opera failed to restore all the open tabs I had, which included a few MDM sites I was planning to post about. Here’s a very quick run down of the ones I could remember:

Master Data Management: Rapid Deployment Package for MDM draft redbook

I was presenting on a similar theme at the last Information on Demand conference, and we got quite a few questions about the rapid deployment package after it was announced at the same event. Hopefully this Redbook has all the answers!

A beginner’s guide to MDM (Master Data Management)

I discovered this one after a tweet from @dataqualitypro. Reasonable length introduction to MDM without overdoing it, and with some handy links. Now bookmarked ready for the next, ‘What is MDM?’ question.

MDM Community

A Ning community created by Dan Power, and one of the links in the beginners guide. Looks like it’s building up to be an interesting and active community.

Understand IBM InfoSphere MDM Server Security, Part 5: Integrating Master Data Management Server with Tivoli Federated Identity Manager

Latest in a series of developerWorks articles on MDM Server security. I’m about to publish a new developerWorks space for the MDM Workbench so I’ve been on the look out for developerWorks articles on MDM. Good to see recent articles for MDM Server on there.

(Ooops, already back up to 36 tabs! Must start tagging and closing them or something.)

Update: the MDM Workbench developerWorks space is now live- I guess that should be a March link but it almost made it in time! (4 March 2009)

MDM Workbench developerWorks forum

This is just a quick plug for the new MDM Workbench forum on developerWorks, which is worth following if you’ve read any of the MDM Workbench related posts below. I’ll still be writing about my own views of MDM and the workbench here, but for a larger audience of people who know the MDM Workbench, the new forum is the place to go.

And there’s more: for any MDM Server runtime specific discussions there is a well established InfoSphere Master Data Management Server forum, also on developerWorks.

Are SOA and MDM inseparable?

Reading “MDM and SOA, a Strong Partnership” on the Hub Solution Designs blog reminded me that it was about time I rescued this post from the depths of my collection of drafts.

To be useful, services must at some point deal with information, whether that’s product information, account information, a customer record or something else that is of interest to your business. It doesn’t take too long when you look at even the most basic web service examples before you spot something like ‘getCustomer’. You don’t need to look far; this post about RESTful services has account as well as customer for example.

Of course, if you aren’t writing this web service for a brand new company, the obvious question is where is the information about the customer going to come from? If you don’t consider master data management before taking the plunge with SOA, you’ll either end up with defacto master data appearing in an add hoc way, possibly based on the order services are exposed without any thought about data quality, or a whole bunch of conflicting data from duplicated services. It’s not a one way street either, master data management systems are easier with service oriented approaches.

Here’s what a few others have to say on the subject:

Update: I read New trends in Enterprise Software Enterprise 2.0 and MDM today which also has quite a nice introduction to how MDM and SOA are related. (14 April 2009)

Creating user interfaces another way

The paragraph about the user interface generator in my last post, or my other recent attempt to explain what it does, don’t really tell you very much. I hope this quick festive example provides a better idea about how user modeling and code generation can speed up user interface development.

First I needed to think of something Christmassy that might need a simple user interface. I apologise in advance, but I chose Christmas cracker jokes!! On the plus side, they’re really simple, and a basic create, read, update and delete interface makes perfect sense. So, I got started by creating a CRUD Joke UML diagram… and about five minutes later I stopped laughing to myself! Well, it’s funnier than most cracker jokes!

Anyway, the UML tools we provide for user modeling enable you to create a new user object with the default CRUD tasks in one go. Here’s what it looks like:

User model

Next, because the user modeling is focused on the roles and goals of users, I added a few other bits just for the demo:

Roles and goals

Perhaps a better role would have been, “Joke quality monitor”, with a goal of, “Maximise Christmas laughter”… or should that be minimise… well, you get the idea!

That’s pretty much it, I can then click the “Generate User Interface…” menu option, deploy the EAR it creates to an application server and fire up my web browser. It took longer to get this far through the blog post than it did to get a working user interface (admittedly I’m a very slow writer, but still, I think that’s pretty good).

Generated user interface

(Thanks to a very old BBC article for that joke!)

The activity diagram behind the modify task above looks like this:

Activity diagram

At some point you need to put real code in for the commands to interact with the back end system, whatever that might be, but to start with the tool will generate a default implementation so you can quickly prototype and test the UI.

So that’s all there is to creating cracking user interfaces.

Get your lovely fresh user interface generator here

IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management Server V8.5 has just been announced! I don’t usually get excited by IBM product announcements but the new version of MDM Server comes with the User Interface Generator, which is is what I actually work on in my day job. We get this description in the announcement letter:

A new sophisticated user interface generator for simplified user interface creation, customization, and use. This model-driven, role-based generator allows for the automatic generation and regeneration of comprehensive user interfaces and supports integration with nongenerated user interface screens.

If you’re as excited as I am, and who wouldn’t be, there’s a series of articles about the user modeling used to generate user interfaces from on developerWorks. Now it’s been shipped, I’ll probably be posting a bit more about what the user interface generator can do, plus I hope to have an update to the Setting up an MDM Server development environment post for version 8.5 soon.

Information on Demand 2008

A slightly overdue look back at the Information on Demand conference; check Stephen’s post for another.

I spent most of the week in the InfoSphere demo room so I missed most of the rest of the conference. Luckily the demo room was the best part of IOD! If you missed it, you missed out on demos including DataStage, QualityStage, the MDM Workbench (with the user interface generator), and integration of Information Server tools and MDM Server at a rapid pace. (Okay, there were lots of other good bits but I’ve seen some excellent feedback comments from people who visited the demo room.)

InfoSphere demo room

InfoSphere demo room

One thing I was disappointed to miss was the Blogging Birds of a Feather (BOF) session on Wednesday although, since they weren’t offering free drinks like one of the other BOFs, it seems there weren’t many people there. I might have made it if Twitter hadn’t regressed as much as it has since the MDM Summit but that’s a subject for another day.

I did manage to escape our demo stand a few times during the week to find out more about IBM mashups, with some excellent sessions and even better chats. Just signed up for Lotus Greenhouse to play with some of the tools that were on show. The demo room was all packed up on Thursday night, so I made the most of the Friday morning for another mashup session, an excellent mashup usability workshop and (slight tangent here) the “Virtual Worlds and Databases: In-world Tools Using External Databases” session which I’m glad I got to. There’s a hint of what Lance covered on the Database Magazine Profiles in Innovation.

I’ve been on the look out for more of what I didn’t get to see, and this is the random selection of IOD articles I’ve stumbled across so far:

Plus Alex has a handy guide for a stay in Las Vegas, including a much better shot of the Excalibur hotel I was staying in than I managed to get- a very very silly hotel!

Update: just been sent a link to some brilliant photos of the demo room! There’s also one in there showing the globes that bounced out of the way of shadows when people walked in front of the projectors, which I enjoyed on the way to breakfast each morning- I’m easily entertained! (12 Nov 2008)

Viva Las Vegas

It’s unusually quiet in the Information on Demand (IOD) demo room (I think we’re officially closed but that hasn’t stopped a few keen people sneaking in!) so I have time for a very quick post.

There’s a small crowd of us from Hursley and Milton Keynes up in the Mandalay Bay Ballroom (J&K) doing InfoSphere demos. If you’re at IOD, come up and see demos of DataStage/QualityStage, MDM Workbench (including the user interface generator which I work on) and how you can rapidly integrate Information Server and MDM Server (which is what I’m demoing).

Looks like people are starting to arrive, so that’s all for now!

Getting ready for Information on Demand

Next week I’ll be at the Information on Demand conference in Las Vegas and, like Susan, I’m nearly ready! (Hopefully I’ll actually be ready after the set up session on Sunday afternoon!)

This will be my first trip to Las Vegas, and my first IOD conference, so I’ve been on the look out for anything useful in the run up. After a slow start, there’s some activity- here’s my shortlist in the absence of a decent aggregation (would have set up a Yahoo pipe or something if I’d thought of it earlier):

I also stumbled on The Maturing of MDM and You did check that spreadsheet, right? along the way, which you may be interested in.

I’ll be in the demo hall most of the week, although I do hope to escape to blog along the way!

Update: Richard Hackathorn started early and has already been posting about IOD/Gold. (26 Oct 2008)

Another way to run MDM transactions in a development environment

If you have set up an MDM Server development environment, you should have noticed that you have actually already run some MDM transactions. The Validate MDM Installation step in the MDM Development and Test Environment (DEST) wizard runs an addContract and two addPerson transactions to verify everything is configured and working. In addition to the first two options, you can actually use the DEST wizard to run your own transactions. Here’s how.

Option 3: InstallVerification Project

This is probably the simplest of all the options for testing an MDM transaction. The Validate MDM Installation step of the DEST wizard will run any transactions in the xml folder of the InstallVerification project. The results are placed in the xml/response folder in the same project but you will need to refresh the contents of the project to see the new files. Follow these steps for an easy way to try out this option:

  • Copy one of the existing files in the xml folder of the InstallVerification project and give it a new name, e.g. testTCRMaddperson.xml
  • Edit the new file and change some of the values. I changed the address, identification number and name for example
  • Start the DEST wizard, select just the Validate MDM Installation step, click next, then finish
  • Right click on the InstallVerification project and select Refresh
  • Open the appropriate response file in the xml/response folder, for example ResponsetestTCRMaddPerson.xml, and check the results

Tip: don’t forget that DEST runs all the transactions in the xml folder so you may wish to clear it out now and then.