I just got back from the annual SWIFT conference, this year in Atlanta. Some 5,500 delegates from around the world showed up to the conference and vendor exhibition; and of course SWIFT had the event perfectly organized as only SWIFT knows how to do.

This year, for the first time apprently, there was a serperate "Standards Forum" launched; to talk about the financial industry and general cross industry standards issues. I was invited to speak at the Forum opening launch, together with an extremely distinguished panel including Renato Polo who has been on the SWIFT Board for 15 years and knows more about SWIFT than probably anyone, Richard Soley who is the OMG CEO, Nourrredine Yous the Chair of ISO TC68 SC4 who have just approved the new ISO 20022 spec for Universal Financial Messaging - and myself.

Just to rat hole on the new ISO spec; cause it's nice to go vertical industry and face some industry reality. International Standard ISO 20022 - UNIFI (previously called the second, XML edition of ISO 15022) is composed of 5 parts: two International Standards and three Technical Specifications that will be published by ISO in 2004.

(side note for those not familiar with ISO work - the only *true* ISO standards are called 'International Standards' and to get them you need to go the whole loooong standards route with all the countries voting. ISO *also* has something called a 'Technical Specification' which is really what a lot of people on the street would know as a 'White Paper', which you still need to buy from ISO and "they are not with the ISO Gold Star" as someone commented to me over lunch at SIBOS. The Oasis ebXML specs in ISO are only TS's and not ISO Information Standards, as another example, where none of that spec work is done in ISO - so pure spec marketing leveraging the ISO brand name)

"ISO 20022 parts 1 and 2 cover a general explanation of the concepts that are used for the definition of ISO 20022 compliant standards. The explanation gives a high level description of the business-centric standards design methodology and the rationale behind this methodology and a description of the input that is required when submitting a request for the registration of an ISO 20022 compliant standard to the ISO 20022 Registration Authority, i.e. SWIFT."
 
The "Three Technical Specifications of ISO 20022 parts 3, 4 and 5 are ISO documents that give more detailed information regarding technical aspects of the standard including Modeling guidelines for development of syntax-independent business standard XML design rules, and Reverse engineering approach for existing non-compliant messages."


Microsoft had an exhibition stand at the SIBOS conference and together with SWIFT's exhibition stand there was a working demo of the new 20022 messages for Corporate to Bank payment processes between the Microsoft stand and the SWIFT stand; on the Microsoft side using the newly SWIFT certified BizTalk adapter for SWIFT. InfoPath was also part of the demo scenario and I gathered a lot of people found the whole demo very powerful in that it showed how simple it can be to use XML, 20022, web services and the Internet with SWIFT all together. (and if you haven't seen the new service pack release for InfoPath, it almost programs itself with anyone's XML. You can even get away from a lot of JScript programming in multiform apps) For web services we were just using the WSE 2.0 bits.

What stuck in my memory from the show, and knowing SWIFT for a while, was that they really have put into practice a sort of a mini software factory concept to produce their new XML based standards. In their case they managed to make some UML work for them using financial services industry concepts they know better than anyone else. SWIFT also have some software that converts XMI ('injecting in' the SWIFT 'core components' pre-defined XML structures) into a final XML message that works for their industry.

I'm not exactly sure how much they used their new approach to help create ISO 20022 but SWIFT have been all over 20022 for some time now and I heard some internal study numbers from SWIFT about how much more efficent in general they have become with their new modeling approach to internal standards development; something a lot of the SWIFT user community would like SWIFT to be much quicker on.

I also had a nice long chat with Richard Soley on UML, Domain Specific Languages (DSL), Software Factories in general and I believe he acknowledges that DSL/Software Factories is a good long term strategy; and I'd venture a guess that a lot of the 'original UML folks' would agree too. I think the public question about what is "long term" around this space or is the space "closer than you think", will become a lot clearer at OOPSLA when that community meets for their annual event; which is in just a week (Oct 25 - 28 in Vancouver Canada)