The IDSA Plugfest as a Driver for a Vital IDS Ecosystem

An inter­view with Anna Maria Schlei­mer

Buil­ding and expan­ding a tech­ni­cal stan­dard is a chal­len­ge. This is espe­cial­ly true for IDS. In our inter­view, Anna Maria Schlei­mer, Rese­arch Assi­stant at Fraun­ho­fer ISST, exp­lains why the IDSA Plug­fest is a par­ti­cu­lar­ly good way to test whe­ther com­pon­ents are com­pa­ti­ble with the IDS Refe­rence Archi­tec­tu­re Model.

IDSA: The IDSA and Fraun­ho­fer ISST team up quar­ter­ly to orga­ni­ze the IDSA Plug­fest. What exact­ly is the Plug­fest and what are its goals?

Anna Maria Schlei­mer: The Plug­fest is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for deve­lo­pers to come tog­e­ther to make their soft­ware com­pa­ti­ble. The com­pon­ents of the IDS eco­sys­tem are tech­ni­cal­ly inte­gra­ted, and the sov­er­eign data sys­tem is tes­ted. This is the first step toward prac­ti­cal rea­liz­a­ti­on of the eco­sys­tem. Des­pi­te its see­min­gly casu­al atmo­s­phe­re, the Plug­fest is enor­mous­ly important and we work hard to con­ti­nuous­ly adapt and impro­ve it.

IDSA: Plea­se descri­be to us exact­ly how the IDSA Plug­fest is run?

Anna Maria Schlei­mer: The Plug­fest takes its cues from the tech­ni­cal deve­lo­p­ments of the pre­vious weeks. In order to sup­port inte­gra­ti­on in the best way pos­si­ble, we ask our­sel­ves exact­ly which infor­ma­ti­on is important to the par­ti­ci­pants at this spe­ci­fic point in time. We do not only pre­sent the latest deve­lo­p­ments with Power­Point sli­des but are hands-on ori­en­ted.

IDSA: What pri­or know­ledge do par­ti­ci­pants need to have?

Anna Maria Schlei­mer: It’s the goal of the Plug­fest to build the IDS eco­sys­tem. For that rea­son, par­ti­ci­pants should be fami­li­ar with the dif­fe­rent soft­ware com­pon­ents and their role wit­hin the IDS eco­sys­tem. Fami­lia­ri­ty with the over­all con­cepts of data eco­sys­tems and data sov­er­eig­n­ty also faci­li­ta­tes a smooth start. In addi­ti­on, it is hel­pful if par­ti­ci­pants have a strong inte­rest in col­la­bo­ra­ting with other orga­niz­a­ti­ons and are wil­ling to ask ques­ti­ons.

IDSA: What are some of the con­cre­te acti­vi­ties that Plug­fest par­ti­ci­pants enga­ge in?

Anna Maria Schlei­mer: Let me illus­tra­te this with an examp­le. The Fraun­ho­fer ISST team has inte­gra­ted the Dat­as­pace Con­nec­tor with other con­nec­tors at the recent Plug­fest. The con­nec­tors its­elf con­sist of dif­fe­rent IDS com­pon­ents. When the­re are inno­va­tions, updates or com­ple­te­ly new deve­lo­p­ments, the con­nec­tor must be updated to ensu­re com­pa­ti­bi­li­ty with the other com­pon­ents as well as other con­nec­tors. That means, for examp­le, to imple­ment the latest ver­si­on of the infor­ma­ti­on model for the Dat­as­pace Con­nec­tor.

IDSA: What are the spe­ci­fic chal­len­ges for the Plug­fest in buil­ding a data eco­sys­tem?

Anna Maria Schlei­mer: We are inter­or­ga­niz­a­tio­nal and inter­cul­tu­ral: Plug­fest par­ti­ci­pants come from a varie­ty of com­pa­nies, insti­tu­ti­ons and coun­tries. In addi­ti­on, we deal with vary­ing degrees of tech­no­lo­gi­cal matu­ri­ty and dif­fe­rent speeds in deve­lo­ping com­pon­ents. Final­ly, new and long­stan­ding mem­bers must work tog­e­ther. We share the com­mon goal of buil­ding an IDS eco­sys­tem. Every par­ti­ci­pant bene­fits from the pro­gress of all the others. This is what makes the eco­sys­tem-con­cept spe­cial among IDS pro­jects com­pa­red to a soft­ware pro­ject in a com­pa­ny.

IDSA: How has the Coro­na­vi­rus pan­de­mic affec­ted the Plug­fest? Has it crea­ted new oppor­tu­nities?

Anna Maria Schlei­mer: The pan­de­mic has tur­ned the Plug­fest into a vir­tu­al event. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, this has impac­ted the hacka­thon-cha­rac­ter and the work­shop expe­ri­ence of the event. At the same time the num­ber of par­ti­ci­pants has grown. A vir­tu­al event enab­les more par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on regard­less of distance or time zone. In the future we could con­cei­ve of a hybrid bet­ween a phy­si­cal and vir­tu­al event. The pan­de­mic has given us new food for thought. We are working on con­ti­nu­al­ly impro­ving the event and try­ing out new direc­tions.

Ms Schlei­mer, thank you very much for your time.

More about the Plug­fest at https://www.dataspaces.fraunhofer.de/en/InternationalDataSpaces/idsa-plugfest.html