Reports of the demise of meta data are premature. It is now old news (September 25, 2000) that the Meta Data Coalition (MDC) closed up shop and merged with the Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM). However, the glass is not half empty; it is half full. This is progress. This is not a breakdown nothing went wrong here. No one needs two standards. Meta data consolidation will lead to useful results from which end users will see incremental tool and system interoperability, gains in economies of scope, and improvements in and reductions of coordination costs. The technology is still alive and well (or at least kicking vigorously); and, yes, XML will show up like the cavalry to rescue the tool interoperability wagon train.
Though this is not a tutorial on the two standards, context is required. Readers may recall that the two major differences were the repository metamodel and the meta data interchange standard. The CWM exploited the meta object facility (MOF) of the object management group (OMG) instead of the proprietary (i.e., patented) Microsoft Repository Technology Interface Model (RTIM). The CWM made use of an innovative idea of streaming XML meta data interchange (XMI) instead of pre-XML meta data interchange, sometimes also called XML interchange format (XIF). Otherwise, a strong case can be made that CWM was a superset of MDC and included such elements as the MDC's open information model (OIM), with the OIM's relational schema, data cube and the extract, transform and load (ETL) process. The CWM took the latter and added hierarchical, nonrelational data stores such as IBM's IMS and Hyperion Essbase (arguably already included in the data cube) as well as scheduling processes and business procedures as further forms of meta data. In this context, it should be noted that "super set" means "containing functionally equivalent classes or mechanisms to which the subset can be logically reduced" because strictly speaking, OIM is now obsolete.
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