Reflections on the 2015 S1000D User Forum

Introduction

The 2015 S1000D User Forum just finished up last Thursday and it sure did live up to this year’s theme, Actualizing S1000D – Making it real! Putting S1000D through its paces in North America has been a lot of work over the last 10 to 15 years or so, and this year’s theme allowed for attendees to take away real use-cases and examples of successful strategies to pave the way for S1000D adoption.

 

The forum opened up with the customary S1000D Tutorials by Dennis Hoyland (Babcock International Group) and Thomas Malloy (BAE Systems) covering what the specification is, the benefits for implementing S1000D, and providing organizations adopting S1000D with viewpoints from the customers and the suppliers.

 

As I reflect on the other presentations I attended, three of them I felt would be good to recap.

 

Data Challenges and Conversion

The first of the Technical/Management Track Tuesday afternoon was “Data Challenges and Conversion, Many Roads Lead to Rome” by Tim Larson of Flatirons. Tim discussed the many high-level aspects of the technical information world our industry is currently dealing with: Mainly, the idea that both legacy data and S1000D will live together for a long time and the many approaches on how to think through this issue. Tim’s main points about data management today are:

 

    The challenges:

  • Legacy makes commitments to single system publishing elusive
  • Traditional approaches to conversion and can be time consuming

 

    The obstacle:

  • Multitude of content types – structured and unstructured must somehow live together

 

    The approaches to consider:

  • Migration to single S1000D standard
  • Multi-mode native support. Single system with multi spec support
  • Hybrid schema/DTD to cover both S1000D and legacy markups

 

    Tim further pointed out what would be required to support these concepts with systems and software:

    • Multi-mode System Approach:

    • Supporting many silos of standards data in the same content management system
    • Work on optimizing the user experience for authoring and publishing.
    • Work on applications that support maintenance (hide the fact that data is multi spec)
    • Hybrid System Approach

    • Superset of IPSec and S1000D DTD/schemes. Add to S1000D the iSpec stuff that’s missing.
    • Beware – High maintenance cost when revisions to specs are released.
    • Recommendations

    • No single approach is viable
    • Multiple approaches can be combined
    • Choose the right approach for the program/job
    • Analysis is key to determine the right approach.

 

Integrated Logistic Support S-Series Specifications Day

On day three was the Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) S-Series Specifications Day where attendees learned all about the various “S Series” specifications that join S1000D in a suite of standards. The series of presentations were themed “A day in the life of the S-Series” which began with an overview and then proceeded through each of the individual specifications centered on a specific example of maintenance of the front brake on the S1000D bike.

 

Pentecom’s own Ryan Augsburger presented the session on the work of the Data Modeling and Exchange Working Group (DMEWG) which is providing the underlying technology and implementation strategy of the S-Series specifications which will provide consistency and interoperability between the suite of ILS S-Series specifications and also with their sources and destinations.

 

    Ryan provided an analogy to baseball:

  • The DMEWG and the SX000i committee provide the “rulebook,” the same as Major League Baseball (MLB) provides a rulebook.
  • The individual S-Series specifications follow the rulebook to produce the individual specs, the same as a baseball stadium builder designs and builds a stadium to the MLB rules.
  • The data producers use the individual S-Series specifications to produce data, the same as the ball players use the stadium to produce entertainment.
  • The data receivers also use the S-Series specifications to make sense of what they are receiving, the same as fans receive entertainment in the stadium.
  • Further analogies between the MLB rulebook and DMEWG specifications include:
    • Some rules are very precise, such as the dimensions of the infield or the product breakdown model.
    • Some rules allow room for variation, such as the dimensions of the outfield and the possibility to extend the data model.
    • The MLB rulebook regarding the field is intended for the stadium builders, although it is available for anyone to read. Similarly, most the work of the DMEWG is intended for the individual S-Series specification creators, although they are publicly available.

 

    Ryan discussed several of the specifications that the DMEWG is producing:

  • SX001G – Glossary for the S-Series ILS specifications
    • Issue 1.1 released (available at www.sx000i.org)
    • Consolidated listing of terms and definitions used throughout the S-Series ILS specifications
    • Issue 1.1 scope is limited to the terms and definitions of the data items defined in SX002D
  • SX002D – Common data model for the S-Series ILS specifications
    • Issue 1.1 released (available at www.sx000i.org)
    • Provides a harmonized information model for information that is common to more than one spec
    • Provides a framework for future development and extensions
  • SX003X – Compatibility matrix for the S-Series ILS specifications
    • Development is currently on hold
  • SX004G – Unified Modeling Language (UML) model reader’s guidance
    • Guide on the symbology used for the UML models across all S-Series specifications
    • In work, to be published alongside of S2000M Issue 6.0
  • SX005I – Implementer’s guide for the S-Series messaging schemas
    • Instructions to the individual S-Series specification committees on how to create XML schemas for messaging interchanges
    • Newly proposed to the ILS Spec Council

 

He also showed the work going on towards an XML schema framework for interchange of S-Series specification data. The schemas include mappings to Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS). The first releases of the new XML schemas are planned to be S3000L in late Fall 2015 and S2000M in January 2016.

 

Ryan’s presentation concluded with this take away: DMEWG is actively working in the background to guarantee consistency and interoperability, not only between the suite of ILS S-Series specifications, but also with its sources and destinations (including product data standards, e.g., PLCS).

 

Lastly, you can’t go to an S1000D conference without looking at software, so I attended the Demo Track on Wednesday where Corel Corporation was showing off their CorelDraw Technical Suite.

 

Software Demo Track – CorelDraw Technical Suite

    Some of the highlights of the CorelDraw Technical suite are:

  • Using Lattice 3D tools for computer-aided drawing (CAD) import.
  • By using Lattice 3D studio, this allows CorelDraw end users to understand revised 3-D models coming from engineering. This reduces the cost of changing illustrations due to changes in the model.
  • CorelDraw allows you to create 2-D drawings from your 3-D animations and when changes occur, will also update your 2-D illustration.
  • Supports the publishing of 3-D models and animations in PDF.
  • Allows you to apply hotspots with hotspot shapes and an Object Data Manager
  • Supports more than 100 file formats for importing and exporting.
  • Also has extensible Application Programming Interface (API) to allow for customizations and add-ons

 

Closing Remarks

As the conference closed with final remarks, the audience learned that the 2016 User Conference will be held in Seville, Spain.

 

See you all next year in Spain from Sept 26th to the 30th.

 

For more information

For additional information on S1000D, the ILS Spec, or to see how Pentecom can help your company with converting your legacy data to S1000D; call 888.773.9067 or e-mail us at info@pentecom.com.

 

Download this article in PDF: Reflections on the 2015 S1000D User Forum

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