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Service Modeling Language

Last night Heather Kreger gave an overview of the Service Modeling Language (SML) to members of the OGF's OGSA working group. The high-level view that I took away from this is that SML is a modelling effort based purely on XML (particularly XML Schema), rather than initiatives that map CIM or UML into XML. The advantage of this is that it has a cleaner rendering; for example, it doesn't have to translate the CIM or UML use of inheritance (which XML Schema doesn't directly support).

In practice, models can be rather large. SML also uses Schematron to enable models to be split across multiple documents, while still enabling validation against the models. A related activity, CML, is producing some core models in SML.

SML is backed by BEA, BMC, CA, Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Sun, so certainly has industry support. They intend to submit the specification to a standards body in a few months time, although it will be a while after that before it is published as a recommended specification.

My personal opinion is that this may well be useful down the line. Anyone working on models now should not wait for this but should continue with whatever language and system you are currently using. SML won't be ready for production use for quite a while and will need to build a user community and some momentum before it sees widespread use. But with this range of backers, it might just happen.

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