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1. (WO1992009961) METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ENGINEERING FOR A DATA MODEL
Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

1. A digital computer implemented method for transforming objects in a first data model, said first data model having source design objects in a source design space, to objects in a second data model, said second data model having target design objects in a target design space, at least one of said target design objects being associated with a corresponding one of said source design objects, and for synchronizing said first data model and said second data model, comprising the steps of:

A. associating a unique source identifier with each of said source design objects;

B. associating at least one selectively modifiable source map with at least one of said source design objects, each of said source maps having source map objects and being associated with said unique source identifier for said ones of said source design objects, at least one of said source map objects being representative of source parameters for use in implementing a predetermined set of rules in a source design space, said rules including source design object transformation rules;

C. associating a unique target identifier with each of said target design objects;

D. associating at least one selectively modifiable target map with at least one of said target design objects, each of said target maps having target map objects and being associated with said unique target identifier for said ones of said target design objects, at least one of said target map objects being representative of target parameters for use in implementing said predetermined set of rules in a target design space;

E. converting at least one of said source design objects into at least one conversion object in said target design space in accordance with said source design object transformation rules, said conversion objects each having an associated
conversion map; and

F. merging at least one of said conversion objects and said associated conversion maps into at least one of said corresponding target design objects and said associated target maps to establish a merged object and associated merged map, whereby said ones of said target design objects have their associated unique target identifier related to said unique source identifier associated with said ones of said source design objects.

2. The method according to claim 1 wherein said first data model is an extended entity data model, and said second data model is a relational model.

3. The method according to claim 2 wherein steps (A) through (F) are sequentially performed for each source design object in said source design space,

4. The method according to claim 3 wherein said source design space includes at least one classtype of source design objects, and wherein steps (A) through (F) are further sequentially performed for each source design object of a similar classtype.

5. The method according to claim 4 wherein each of said classtypes includes an associated hierarchy value, and wherein said steps (A) through (F) are further sequentially performed in accordance with said hierarchy values.

6. The method according to claim 2 wherein step (B) includes associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said source design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

7. The method according to claim 6 wherein step (D) includes associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said target design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

8. The method according to claim 7 further comprising the step, prior to said converting step (E) for a source design object, of:

identifying zero, one, or more target design objects in said target design space, as being said corresponding target design object associated with said source design object, said association being represented by map objects in said system maps.

9. The method according to claim 8 wherein said identifying step further comprises the substeps of:

A. identifying instances when zero target 5 design objects are identified; and

B. initiating an action in response to said identified instance, said action including one from the set consisting of delete source object map,

10 rebuild a user map, and create a null map for said source design object in said target design space.

10. The method according to claim 8 wherein steps (A) through (F) are sequentially performed for

15 each of said source design objects in said source design space.

11. The method according to claim 2 wherein step (D) includes associating at least one system map and

20 at least one user map with ones of said target design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

25 12. The method according to claim 2 further comprising the step of generating a template for naming each object in said source design space and said target design space, said template including a selectively predetermined object identifier, and a

30 selectively modifiable object variable.

13. The method according to claim 2 wherein each of said conversion objects includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the substeps of:

A. identifying instances when said
conversion object name matches one of said target design objects name and said conversion map
associated with said conversion object matches said target map associated with said one identified target design object; and

B. fusing said conversion object with said one identified target design object, including the further substep of over-writing properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object for ones of said identified instances.

14. The method according to claim 2 wherein each of said conversion objects includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the steps of:

A. identifying instances when said name associated with one of said conversion objects matches said name of one of said target design objects, and said conversion map associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said target map of said one identified target design object;

B. generating a signal representative of each of said instances; and

C. initiating an action in response to external input, said external input being responsive to said signal, said action including one from the set consisting of:

i. append said conversion object map to said target map of said one identified target design object;

ii. rename said conversion object; and,

iii. append said conversion object map to said one identified target object map, then over-write properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object.

15. The method according to claim 2 wherein each of said conversion objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the steps of:

A. identifying instances when said
conversion map associated with ones of said
conversion objects matches said target map associated with one of said target design objects, and said name associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said name associated with said one identified target design object;

B. generating a signal representative of each of said instances; and

C. initiating an action in response to external input, said external input being responsive to said signal, said action including one from the set consisting of:

i. append said target map to said source design object associated with said one
identified conversion object, build said one
identified conversion object into said target design space, then over-write properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object;

ii. remove said target map associated with said one identified target design object, and build said one identified conversion object into said target design space; and.

iii. replace said source design map with said target map associated with said one
identified target design object, then over-write properties of said source design object to said one identified target design object.

16. The method according to claim 12 wherein each of said conversion objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the steps of:

A. identifying instances when said
conversion map associated with ones of said
conversion objects does not match said target map associated with one of said target design objects, and said name associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said name associated with said one identified target design object; and

B. initiating addition of said one
identified conversion object to said target design space for ones of said identified instances.

17. The method according to claim 2 wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the substeps of:

A. comparing said merged object with said predetermined set of rules;

B. identifying instances when said merged map is inconsistent with ones of said rules; and

C. generating a signal representative of each of said instances.

18. The method according to claim 17 further comprising the substep of resolving, following said generated signal, said instances when said merged map is inconsistent with ones of said rules in response to external input.

19. The method according to claim 2 wherein each of said target design objects includes a reference to zero, one, or more of said source design objects, said method further comprising the steps of:

A. for at least one of said target design objects, identifying instances when said reference is to zero of said source design objects, said instances being representative of a null reference; and

B. responsive to identification of said null reference, selectively modifying said ones of said target design object in accordance with a predetermined action.

20. The method according to claim 19 wherein said predetermined action is a delete propagate action, including the substep of removing said target design object from said target design space.

21. The method according to claim 2 wherein each of said target maps includes a reference to zero, one, or more of said source design objects, said method further comprising the steps of:

A. for at least one of said target design objects, identifying instances when said reference in its associated target map is to zero of said source design objects, said instances being representative of a null reference; and

B. responsive to identification of said null reference, selectively modifying said ones of said target design object and said associated target map in accordance with a predetermined action.

22. The method according to claim 21 wherein said predetermined action is a nullify target action, including the substep of removing said reference from said associated target map.

23. The method according to claim 21 wherein said predetermined action is a delete map action, including the substep of deleting said associated target map.

24. The method according to claim 21 wherein said predetermined action is a delete propagate action, including the substep of removing said target design object from said target design space.

25. The method according to claim 2, wherein each of said target design objects are selectively modifiable by a user, said method further comprising the step of maintaining said unique target identifier associated with said target map for each modified target design object.

26. The method according to claim 1 wherein said first data model is a relational data model, and said second data model is an extended entity data model.

27. The method according to claim 1 wherein said source design map and said target design map define a single composite map in a distinct design space, the method further comprising the steps of:

A. associating a unique composite map identifier with said composite map;

B. establishing a unique relationship between said composite map identifier and said source design object; and

C. establishing a unique relationship between said composite map identifier and said target design object.

28. The method according to claim 27 wherein steps (A) through (F) are sequentially performed for each source design object in said source design space.

29. The method according to claim 28 wherein said source design space includes at least one
classtype of source design objects, and wherein steps (A) through (F) are further sequentially performed for each source design object of a similar classtype.

30. The method according to claim 29 wherein each of said classtypes includes an associated
hierarchy value, and wherein said steps (A) through (F) are further sequentially performed in accordance with said hierarchy values.

31. The method according to claim 27 wherein step (B) includes associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said source design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

32. The method according to claim 31 wherein step (D) includes associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said target design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

33. The method according to claim 32 further comprising the step, prior to said converting step (E) for a source design object, of:

identifying zero, one, or more target design objects in said target design space, as being said corresponding target design object associated with said source design object, said association being represented by map objects in said system maps.

34. The method according to claim 33 wherein said identifying step further comprises the substeps of:

A. identifying instances when zero target design objects are identified; and

B. initiating an action in response to said identified instance, said action including one from the set consisting of delete source object map, rebuild a user map, and create a null map for said source design object in said target design space.

35. The method according to claim 33 wherein steps (A) through (F) are sequentially performed for each of said source design objects in said source design space.

36. The method according to claim 27 wherein step (D) includes associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said target design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

37. The method according to claim 27 further comprising the step of generating a template for naming each object in said source design space and said target design space, said template including a selectively predetermined object identifier, and a selectively modifiable object variable.

38. The method according to claim 27 wherein each of said conversion objects includes an
associated name, and each of said target design objects includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the substeps of:

A. identifying instances when said
conversion object name matches one of said target design objects name and said conversion map
associated with said conversion object matches said target map associated with said one identified target design object; and

B. fusing said conversion object with said one identified target design object, including the further substep of over-writing properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object for ones of said identified instances.

39. The method according to claim 27 wherein each of said conversion objects includes an
associated name, and each of said target design objects includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the steps of:

A. identifying instances when said name associated with one of said conversion objects matches said name of one of said target design objects, and said conversion map associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said target map of said one identified target design object;

B. generating a signal representative of each of said instances; and

C. initiating an action in response to external input, said external input being responsive to said signal, said action including one from the set consisting of:

i. append said conversion object map to said target map of said one identified target design object;

ii. rename said conversion object; and,

iii. append said conversion object map to said one identified target object map, then over-write properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object.

40. The method according to claim 27 wherein each of said conversion objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the steps of:

A. identifying instances when said
conversion map associated with ones of said
conversion objects matches said target map associated with one of said target design objects, and said name associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said name associated with said one identified target design object;

B. generating a signal representative of each of said instances; and

C. initiating an action in response to external input, said external input being responsive to said signal, said action including one from the set consisting of:

i. append said target map to said source design object associated with said one
identified conversion object, build said one
identified conversion object into said target design space, then over-write properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object;

ii. remove said target map associated with said one identified target design object, and build said one identified conversion object into said target design space; and, iii. replace said source design map with said target map associated with said one identified target design object, then over-write properties of said source design object to said one identified target design object.

41. The method according to claim 37 wherein each of said conversion objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the steps of:

A. identifying instances when said
conversion map associated with ones of said
conversion objects does not match said target map associated with one of said target design objects, and said name associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said name associated with said one identified target design object; and

B. initiating addition of said one
identified conversion object to said target design space for ones of said identified instances.

42. The method according to claim 27 wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the substeps of:

5 A. comparing said merged object with said predetermined set of rules;

B. identifying instances when said merged map is inconsistent with ones of said rules; and

10
C. generating a signal representative of each of said instances.

43. The method according to claim 42 further 15 comprising the substep of resolving, following said generated signal, said instances when said merged map is inconsistent with ones of said rules in response to external input.

20 44. The method according to claim 27 wherein each of said target design objects includes a
reference to zero, one, or more of said source design objects, said method further comprising the steps of:

25 A. for at least one of said target design objects, identifying instances when said reference is to zero of said source design objects, said instances being representative of a null reference; and

30 B. responsive to identification of said null reference, selectively modifying said ones of said target design object in accordance with a predetermined action.

45. The method according to claim 44 wherein said predetermined action is a delete propagate action, including the substep of removing said target design object from said target design space.

46. The method according to claim 27 wherein each of said target maps includes a reference to zero, one, or more of said source design objects, said method further comprising the steps of:

A. for at least one of said target design objects, identifying instances when said reference in its associated target map is to zero of said source design objects, said instances being representative of a null reference; and

B. responsive to identification of said null reference, selectively modifying said ones of said target design object and said associated target map in accordance with a predetermined action.

47. The method according to claim 46 wherein said predetermined action is a nullify target action, including the substep of removing said reference from said associated target map.

48. The method according to claim 46 wherein said predetermined action is a delete map action, including the substep of deleting said associated target map.

49. The method according to claim 46 wherein said predetermined action is a delete propagate action, including the substep of removing said target design object from said target design space.

50. The method according to claim 27 wherein each of said target design objects are selectively modifiable by a user, said method further comprising the step of maintaining said unique target identifier associated with said target map for each modified target design object.

51. The method according to claim 1 wherein steps (A) through (F) are sequentially performed for each source design object in said source design space.

52. The method according to claim 51 wherein said source design space includes at least one
classtype of source design objects, and wherein steps (A) through (F) are further sequentially performed for each source design object of a similar classtype.

53. The method according to claim 52 wherein each of said classtypes includes an associated
hierarchy value, and wherein said steps (A) through (F) are further sequentially performed in accordance with said hierarchy values.

54. The method according to claim 1 wherein step (B) includes associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said source design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

55. The method according to claim 54 wherein step (D) includes associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said target design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

56. The method according to claim 55 further comprising the step, prior to said converting step (E) for a source design object, of:

identifying zero, one, or more target design objects 'in said target design space, as being said corresponding target design object associated with said source design object, said association being represented by map objects in said system maps.

57. The method according to claim 56 wherein said identifying step further comprises the substeps of:

A. identifying instances when zero target design objects are identified; and

B. initiating an action in response to said identified instance, said action including one from the set consisting of delete source object map, rebuild a user map, and create a null map for said source design object in said target design space.

58. The method according to claim 56 wherein steps (A) through (F) are sequentially performed for each of said source design objects in said source design space.

59. The method according to claim 1 wherein step (D) includes associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said target design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

60. The method according to claim 1 further comprising the step of generating a template for naming each object in said source design space and said target design space, said template including a selectively predetermined object identifier, and a selectively modifiable object variable.

61. The method according to claim 1 wherein each of said conversion objects includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the substeps of:

A. identifying instances when said
conversion object name matches one of said target design objects name and said conversion map
associated with said conversion object matches said target map associated with said one identified target design object; and

B. fusing said conversion object with said one identified target design object, including the further substep of over-writing properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object for ones of said identified instances.

62. The method according to claim 1 wherein each of said conversion objects includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the steps of:

A. identifying instances when said name associated with one of said conversion objects matches said name of one of said target design objects, and said conversion map associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said target map of said one identified target design object;

B. generating a signal representative of each of said instances; and

C. initiating an action in response to external input, said external input being responsive to said signal, said action including one from the set consisting of:

i. append said conversion object map to said target map of said one identified target design object;

ii. rename said conversion object;
and,

iii. append said conversion object map to said one identified target object map, then over-write properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object.

63. The method according to claim 1 wherein each of said conversion objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the steps of:

A. identifying instances when said
conversion map associated with ones of said
conversion objects matches said target map associated with one of said target design objects, and said name associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said name associated with said one identified target design object;

B. generating a signal representative of each of said instances; and

C. initiating an action in response to external input, said external input being responsive to said signal, said action including one from the set consisting of:

i. append said target map to said source design object associated with said one
identified conversion object, build said one
identified conversion object into said target design space, then over-write properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object;

ii. remove said target map associated with said one identified target design object, and build said one identified conversion object into said target design space; and.

iii. replace said source design map with said target map associated with said one identified target design object, then over-write properties of said source design object to said one identified target design object.

64. The method according to claim 60 wherein each of said conversion objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the steps of:

A. identifying instances when said
conversion map associated with ones of said
conversion objects does not match said target map associated with one of said target design objects, and said name associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said name associated with said one identified target design object; and

B. initiating addition of said one
identified conversion object to said target design space for ones of said identified instances.

65. The method according to claim 1 wherein said merging step (F) further comprises the substeps of:

A. comparing said merged object with said predetermined set of rules;

B. identifying instances when said merged map is inconsistent with ones of said rules; and

C. generating a signal representative of each of said instances.

66. The method according to claim 65 further comprising the substep of resolving, following said generated signal, said instances when said merged map is inconsistent with ones of said rules in response to external input.

67. The method according to claim 1 wherein each of said target design objects includes a reference to zero, one, or more of said source design objects, said method further comprising the steps of:

A. for at least one of said target design objects, identifying instances when said reference is to zero of said source design objects, said instances being representative of a null reference; and

B. responsive to identification of said null reference, selectively modifying said ones of said target design object in accordance with a predetermined action.

68. The method according to claim 67 wherein said predetermined action is a delete propagate action, including the substep of removing said target design object from said target design space.

69. The method according to claim 1 wherein each of said target maps includes a reference to zero, one, or more of said source design objects, said method further comprising the steps of:

A. for at least one of said target design objects, identifying instances when said reference in its associated target map is to zero of said source design objects, said instances being representative of a null reference; and

B. responsive to identification of said null reference, selectively modifying said ones of said target design object and said associated target map in accordance with a predetermined action.

70. The method according to claim 69 wherein said predetermined action is a nullify target action, including the substep of removing said reference from said associated target map.

71. The method according to claim 69 wherein said predetermined action is a delete map action, including the substep of deleting said associated target map.

72. The method according to claim 69 wherein said predetermined action is a delete propagate action, including the substep of removing said target design object from said target design space.

73. The method according to claim 1 wherein each of said target design objects are selectively
modifiable by a user, said method further comprising the step of maintaining said unique target identifier associated with said target map for each modified target design object.

74. An apparatus for transforming objects in a first data model, said first data model having source design objects in a source design space, to objects in a second data model, said second data model having target design objects in a target design space, at least one of said target design objects being
associated with a corresponding one of said source design objects, and for synchronizing said first data model and said second data model, comprising:

A. means for associating a unique source identifier with each of said source design objects;

B. source map means for associating at least one selectively modifiable source map with at least one of said source design objects, each of said source maps having source map objects and being associated with said unique source identifier for said ones of said source design objects, at least one of said source map objects being representative of source parameters for use in implementing a
predetermined set of rules in a source design space, said rules including source design object
transformation rules;

C. means for associating a unique target identifier with each of said target design objects;

D. target map means for associating at least one selectively modifiable target map with at least one of said target design objects, each of said target maps having target map objects and being associated with said unique target identifier for said ones of said target design objects, at least one of said target map objects being representative of target parameters for use in implementing said predetermined set of rules in a target design space;

E. conversion means for converting at least one of said source design objects into at least one conversion object in said target design space in accordance with said source design object
transformation rules, said conversion objects each having an associated conversion map; and F. merging means for merging at least one of said conversion objects and said associated
conversion maps into at least one of said
corresponding target design objects and said
associated target maps to establish a merged object and associated merged map, whereby said ones of said target design objects have their associated unique target identifier related to said unique source identifier associated with said ones of said source design objects.

75. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein said first data model is an extended entity data model, and said second data model is a relational model.

76. Apparatus according to claim 74 further comprising controller means for controlling
operations of said means (A) through (F) to be
sequentially operative in a predetermined order for each source design object in said source design space,

77. Apparatus according to claim 76 wherein said source design space includes at least one classtype of source design objects, said controller means operating said means (A) through (F) to be
sequentially operative in a predetermined order for each source design object of a similar classtype.

78. Apparatus according to claim 77 wherein each of said classtypes includes an associated hierarchy value, and wherein said predetermined order is in accordance with said hierarchy values.

79. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein said source map means includes means for associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said source design objects, said system map

5 being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

80. Apparatus according to claim 79 wherein said target map means includes means for associating at

10 least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said target design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

15 81. Apparatus according to claim 80 further comprising ID means for identifying zero, one, or more target design objects in said target design space, as being said corresponding target design object associated with said source design object,

20 said association being represented by map objects in said system maps.

82. Apparatus according to claim 81 wherein said ID means further comprises:
5
A. means for identifying instances when zero target design objects are identified; and

B. response means for acting in response 0 to said identified instance, said response means including one from the set consisting of: means for deleting a source object map; means for rebuilding a user map; and, means for creating a null map for said source design object in said target design space.
5

83. Apparatus according to claim 81 further comprising controller means for controlling said means (A) through (F) to be sequentially operative in a predetermined order for each source design object in said source design space.

84. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein said target map means includes means for associating at least one system map and at least one user map with ones of said target design objects, said system map being immutable by a user and said user map being selectively modifiable by said user.

85. Apparatus according to claim 74 further comprising naming means for generating a template for naming each object in said source design space and said target design space, said template including a selectively predetermined object identifier, and a selectively modifiable object variable.

86. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein each of said conversion objects includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects includes an associated name, and wherein said merging means further comprises:

A. means for identifying instances when said conversion object name matches one of said target design objects name and said conversion map associated with said conversion object matches said target map associated with said one identified target design object; and B. fusing means for fusing said conversion object with said one identified target design object, including means for over-writing properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object for ones of said identified instances.

87. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein each of said conversion objects includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects includes an associated name, wherein said merging means further comprises:

A. means for identifying instances when said name associated with one of said conversion objects matches said name of one of said target design objects, and said conversion map associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said target map of said one identified target design object;

B. signal means for generating a signal representative of each of said instances; and

C. response means for responding to external input, said external input being responsive to said signal, said response means including one from the set consisting of:

i. means for appending said
conversion object map to said target map of said one identified target design object;

ii. means for renaming said conversion object; and, iii. means for appending said
conversion object map to said one identified target object map, and means for over-writing properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object.

88. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein each of said conversion objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects in said target design space includes an associated name, wherein said merging means further comprises:

A. means for identifying instances when said conversion map associated with ones of said conversion objects matches said target map associated with one of said target design objects, and said name associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said name associated with said one identified target design object;

B. signal means for generating a signal representative of each of said instances; and

C. response means for responding to external input, said external input being responsive to said signal, said response means including one from the set consisting of: i. means for appending said target map to said source design object associated with said one identified conversion object, means for building said one identified conversion object into said target design space, and means for over-writing properties of said conversion object to said one identified target design object;

ii. means for removing said target map associated with said one identified target design object, and means for building said one identified conversion object into said target design space; and,

iii. means for replacing said source design map with said target map associated with said one identified target design object, and means for over-writing properties of said source design object to said one identified target design object.

89. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein each of said conversion objects in said target design space includes an associated name, and each of said target design objects in said target design space includes an associated name, wherein said merging means further comprises:

A. means for identifying instances when said conversion map associated with ones of said conversion objects does not match said target map associated with one of said target design objects, and said name associated with said one identified conversion object does not match said name associated with said one identified target design object; and B. means for initiating addition of said one identified conversion object to said target design space for ones of said identified instances.

90. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein said merging means further comprises:

A. means for comparing said merged object with said predetermined set of rules;

B. means for identifying instances when said merged map is inconsistent with ones of said rules; and

C. means for generating a signal
representative of each of said instances.

91. Apparatus according to claim 90 further comprising means for resolving, following said generated signal, said instances when said merged map is inconsistent with ones of said rules in response to external input.

92. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein each of said target design objects includes a reference to zero, one, or more of said source design objects, said apparatus further comprising:

A. for at least one of said target design objects, means for identifying instances when said reference is to zero of said source design objects, said instances being representative of a null reference; and B. means, responsive to identification of said null reference, for selectively modifying said ones of said target design object in accordance with a predetermined action.

93. Apparatus according to claim 92 wherein said predetermined action is a delete propagate action, including means for removing said target design object from said target design space.

94. Apparatus according to claim 74 wherein each of said target maps includes a reference to zero, one, or more of said source design objects, said apparatus further comprising:

A. for at least one of said target design objects, means for identifying instances when said reference in its associated target map is to zero of said source design objects, said instances being representative of a null reference; and

B. means, responsive to identification of said null reference, for selectively modifying said ones of said target design object and said associated target map in accordance with a predetermined action.

95. Apparatus according to claim 94 wherein said predetermined action is a nullify target action, including means for removing said reference from said associated target map.

96. Apparatus according to claim 94 wherein said predetermined action is a delete map action,
including means for deleting said associated target map.

97. Apparatus according to claim 94 wherein said predetermined action is a delete propagate action, including means for removing said target design object from said target design space.

98. Apparatus according to claim 74, wherein each of said target design objects are selectively modifiable by a user, said method further comprising the step of maintaining said unique target identifier associated with said target map for each modified target design object.