Summary: Solution Based Modeling

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Oliver Oey

Jan 15, 1994, 4:05:24 PM1/15/94

About two weeks ago I posted the following message.
Solution Based Modeling is a software development process described in the
book "Developing Object-Oriented Software for the Macintosh" written by Neal
Goldstein and Jeff Alger, published by Addison Wesley in 1992.

In my Master thesis, I am comparing this process against a few other
mainstream processes. I am wondering if any one had actual experience using
the Solution Based Modeling (SBM) in a real life project. Whether you
personally had experience with it or if you are aware of some reference to it,
please let me know? Any and all assistance will be greatly appreciated.

I'll post a summary in about a week or two if there's enough feedback by

I haven't got very many feedbacks, some respondants are aware of SBM but
haven't had any experience. One of the co-authors of the book reponded and
provided some information. The responses are too fragmented to be summarized
as a coherent whole, so I just list the quotes below.

> You asked about Taligent. I trained about 40 engineers there in SBM and I
> know of perhaps a dozen more who came to Taligent with SBM knowledge.
> There is a core community of maybe 50 engineers there who regularly use SBM
> and/or VDL in their own work, but Taligent has not adopted any standards
> internally for methods and SBM is just one of several in use. It is left
> to individuals and teams to pick their methods and notation. It was a very
> interesting experience working through the special needs of frameworks
> developers. One key concept: the Technology Plane should focus on
> prototypical instances of the classes rather than on the classes
> themselves. That, after all, is really what the framework is all about:
> generating objects that have certain types of properties. At the same
> time, one must elevate the classes to the Technology Plane, while if one is
> simply _using_ a framework its classes appear as collaborators in the
> Execution Plane.

"I have successfully used SBM in a couple of projects."

"Your query was forwarded to me by Dave Buell at Quasar Knowledge Systems,
who has a fair degree of experience with the method. There are two people
at IDS Financial Services who have significant experience with SBM in
projects and who would likely cooperate in answering your questions.


Although SBM is not as well-known as some of the other major methods, that
does not mean it is not widely used. No one keeps statistics on how many
people, companies and projects use what methods. Statistics from the
vendors are suspect because they tend not to examine whether people are
really using the method or are just picking and choosing from among the
principles and notational conventions. Without running down competing
methods, I will simply point out that about 7500 copies of the book have
been sold, despite it being marketed to a small niche of Macintosh
developers, that Neal and I have trained several hundred people in its use,
and there are over 200 users at over 100 organizations of a beta CASE tool
I developed but never finished.

I like to think I am objective in assessing SBM since my consulting work
involves other methods as well, including non-OO methods. If you would
like a synopsis of the feedback Neal and I have received - good and bad -
just let me know."

"I read your note on comp.sys.mac.oop.misc asking about SBM experience. I have
been personally involved with three projects which used SBM. One of those
projects I can talk about quite freely. The other two are still confidential."

"The group I work in here at Motorola Codex are on the verge of starting
a new software development effort from the ground-up. We have seen and
experimented with Solution Based Modelling (SBM) and find it quite
interesting over the "classical" waterfall method of software development.

I can't give you any hardcore details yet ... we're still in a state
of flux as to whether to use SBM or not. I truly hope so since I find
classical method rather dull and unmotivating."

"I just finished the SBM book, and thought it extremely sensible. While I have
extensive application development background, and some exposure to the earlier
'structured' methodologies, I have not used any of the OO methodologies as I
have not done applications work for a few years. Nonetheless, it looked like
SBM answered a lot of the weaknesses in the earlier methodologies."

"Unfortunately, I can't supply with names but I understand that EDS
(Ross Perot's old company--means Electronic Data Systems, I believe) has
made a major committment to SBM. You might try to find someone at
their Dallas headquarters who knows something about this..."

Oliver Oey email:
Jodrey School of Computer Science, Acadia University
Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

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