When building a service-oriented system, a service integrator retrieves a set of potentially useful services from registries and then inspects their documentation to eventually decide which services to use. This task needs to be supported by proper tools that help service interface/documentation understanding, highlighting the relationships existing between the retrieved services. This paper proposes an approach, based on Formal Concept Analysis, to understand relationships between services, as well as between operations of a complex service, by analyzing service interfaces and documentation. The approach allows an analyst to cluster similar services, highlights hierarchical relationships and, in general, commonalities and differences between services. To support the proposed approach, we developed a tool that provides several service browsing capabilities. Finally, the approach has been evaluated with different case studies built upon real sets of services. Copyright © 2006, Idea Group Inc.
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