7. Outlook

There are several areas for further refinement and expansion of the usefulness of business lan-guage analysis. 

We have talked a lot about generic and industry-specific concept patterns.  These concept patterns form a meta-language of business concerns, which are proven to help understand specific bodies of language.  Coupled with robust repository technology, this ever-expanding semantic network of concepts and terminology can form a rich index into an asset-base of software components.  This helps to address the issue of visibility of design and code artifacts from earlier projects where it is often difficult to determine what an object does, and where local terminology is not embodied in objects whose genesis is elsewhere.

The subject of patterns is a very hot topic among object-oriented developers.  Design patterns have been the subject of internet discussions and a growing published literature.  These patterns were originally limited to technical design issues, such as structure, behavior, and creation of software objects.   This is in contrast to the types of patterns that emerge from business language analysis, which are patterns of meaning.  There is recently indication of possible areas of cross-pollination with work such as Peter Coad’s business object patterns  and Ward Cunningham’s CHECKS pattern language that validates domain-specific input. 

Another growing area of software development is the field of groupware and workflow software.  This field was pioneered by individuals for whom computers and cognition were quite compatible.   The field has expanded and become increasingly commercial, although it still has a long way to go realize the full-blown mirror worlds potential.   As software comes to draw increasingly on repositories of structured business language, sophisticated groupware applications will provide more transparency and appeal to users across the enterprise.

The software crisis is still with us.  There is increasing demand, and seemingly hopeless backlogs.  Object technology provides part of the promised solution.  As Tom Love envisioned, “These new environments for assembling powerful components will still require lots of creative programmers to build new and better components and make them available to the market.  Programmers will become software component providers; users will construct the final applications and systems based upon the available repertoire of components.”   If, in addition, these same sophisticated users have access to rich repositories of structured business meaning, software and language can begin to come together in intuitive and seamless support of business evolution.