The snappily entitled 'Service oriented architecture Modelling Language' (or SoaML), a specification for SOA development, should be released in the next few months, an Object Management Group official has said.

The aim of SoaML is to support activities of service-modelling and design fit into a model-driven development approach, according to an OMG document filed earlier this year.

"It's an extension of the UML, the Unified Modelling Language, and it contains modelling constructs for things like contracts and service and providers and consumers, all things that you would expect if you were going to do the architectural delivery for a SOA-based project," said Victor Harrison, a member of the OMG board of directors and director of the distinguished engineering group at Computer Sciences.

SoaML seeks consistency in terms of defining an SOA as well as provision of a consistent modelling framework, Harrison said during an interview at an OMG SOA Consortium meeting in Santa Clara, California.

"It's going through finalisation right now, so barring any other kind of fix-it-ups from the architecture board, it should be released next month," said Harrison.

The specification will be published as a UML profile, meaning it can be used in any UML modelling tool. It can be extended and built upon, Harrison said. Tools vendors are expected to incorporate it in their products, he said.

An analyst lauded SoaML for not being too centred on Web services, which has sometimes been considered synonymous with SOA.

"While it would be more accurate to call this a service modelling and design language (because SOA modelling language doesn't have particular meaning), it is good that they are not overly committing their language to Web services," said Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink. "I think by now, we all realise that SOA and Web services are not at all the same thing. In this regard, I think the specification will be another step in the path to helping companies realise the important of modelling their architecture separate from modelling the underlying technology."

Among the list of submitters of the SoaML proposal were IBM, HP and Fujitsu. The specification was developed in response to the UML Profile and Metamodel for Services RFP. UML 2.0 serves as a basis for the SoaML metamodel.