FIBO Developer's Guide

FIBO is published in a way that allows users from financial institutions, regulators, or even research groups to download and use a variety of artifacts.  But people who plan to contribute to FIBO will have to deal with the FIBO source, and will need to know how to edit it. They will also need to know their way around GitHub and understand how to carry out actions such as fork, pull request.

A FIBO Metadata specification document has been developed. This document sets out the FIBO metadata for ontologies, modules and the overall FIBO specification. Its purpose is both to serve as information for FIBO content developers and as the specification for how FIBO content can be offered to OMG with no rework in the OMG specification process.

FIBO Sources and Products

Fibo is developed using a familiar process from software engineering, in which a product is developed using source code which is compiled into a product. In most software settings, source code is written in a programming language (e.g., java, C, or Cobol) which is compiled into executable code for the product.  FIBO is developed in the same way, but the product code is not 'executable' in any normal sense of the word. In fact, the FIBO products can be published in the same language as the source (i.e., OWL), so it is easy to be confused when looking at any particular file, whether you are looking at source or product.  Management of the FIBO development process follows conventional software engineering practices, so the difference between source and product is clear when you think about the process. 


The FIBO sources are kept in a repository on GitHub, As is customary with GitHub, changes to FIBO are made in a fork of the EDMC repository, and these changes are proposed to the FIBO Leadership Team through a pull request.   All FIBO Content and Tools are here. Some of it is open and some is private to FIBO team members (you will need to be granted access). In either case you will need a GitHub user name to participate in the development process.  

FIBO Maturity Levels

FIBO is published in two release levels - a Production level, where every model has passed serious scrutiny for consistency, completeness and documentation, and a Development level, where the ontologies have passed only minimum scrutiny for referential consistency (basically, an ontology doesn't refer to things which are undefined).

FIBO publications are built out of FIBO sources.  FIBO sources have three levels of maturity, Informative, Provisional and Release

FIBO Source Maturity Levels


Informative ontologies are ones that have been considered by a development team, but have been explicitly rejected.  They are included in FIBO sources because they contain the target of references from Provisional ontologies, without which FIBO would fail the basic referential consistency tests.  Developers should consider these for information only, to determine the detailed meaning of the things that reference them. One aim of development is to replace references to elements in Provisional ontologies to those in Provisional or Release ontologies.


Provisional ontologies were developed in the early days of FIBO, and have not undergone the complete review required to be considered Release.  There is a wide range of maturity that fits into Provisional; some have barely been reviewed, others have had considerable review and are on their way to being Release. 


Release models have undergone extensive unit and integration testing, and have passed the most rigorous tests for completeness, consistency and correctness.  

FIBO Publication Maturity Levels

The FIBO publications are built from sources through a process that involves re-writing URIs to match publication conventions, converting files into multiple standard formats, and triggering derivative products such as the glossary and FIBO-V. 

The two FIBO publication products are built by combining models from the source maturity levels as follows:

Production is made up of the Release sources only. 

Development is made up of sources from Release, Provisional and Informative levels, all combined together. 

FIBO developers are working to move ontologies up the maturity ladder.  Specifically, to develop Provisional ontologies to become part of the Release, and to remove reliance on Informative models so that they can be removed entirely. 

Indication of Maturity Levels in FIBO sources

FIBO maturity levels are indicated on an ontology basis; that is, an ontology has a level (Informative, Provisional, Release), not a class or a property (classes and properties have the maturity level of their containing ontology).  The maturity level of an ontology is indicated in the ontology file itself, with a triple in RDF, e.g., 

fibo-bp-iss-doc: fibo-fnd-utl-av:hasMaturityLevel fibo-fnd-utl-av:Provisional .  

The development process could go as follows:

Contributing to FIBO

If you want to contribute to FIBO, you'll need to do the following things: 

  1. Create a login for 
  2. Make sure you have java installed; see if you need to download java. You will need a JRE or JDK 1.8 (also known as Java 8) or higher.
  3. Install a git client.  In FIBO, we recommend Sourcetree from Atlassian (
  4. Make a "fork" of the fibo repository at
    . Clone your fork to your local repository.
  5. Install FIBO serialization tools (see below).  This is important so that your code can be compared and merged with code from other contributors.  You cannot submit a pull request to the fibo repository without this step. 
  6. Install the local testing tools (see below). This will allow you to process FIBO with most common semantic web editing tools.
  7. When you want to make a change to FIBO, register an issue in the FIBO JIRA system.
  8. Create a branch in your fork. The branch name should be your github name, followed by a slash ("/"), followed by the identifer of the JIRA issue for your change, e.g., "dallemang/INFRA-320".
  9. Edit FIBO using the RDF/OWL editor of your choice (Protege, TopBraid, MagicDraw CCM, VOM, Cognitum Fluent Editor, etc. )
  10. The Council provides a set of automated hygiene tests. At any time, you can submit your work to these tests. You do this by pushing your branch to the EDM Council repository in Github, You will see the results of your hygiene tests after a few minutes at the EDM Council jenkins,
  11. Once you are happy with your changes, and they pass all the hygiene tests, submit a Pull Reqest to the EDMCouncil. This is a signal to the rest of the team that you would like a personal review of your work. They have 24 hours to complete this review.

You only have to do steps 1-6 once; once you have begun contributing, you just repeat steps 7 and 8. 

FIBO Serialization tools

When you cloned your fork to your local repository, you chose a directory in which FIBO resides.  This is your fibo installation directory. In order to use the FIBO Serialization tools you will need two files, a pre-commmit hook file and a Java application file called RDF Toolkit. These need to reside in a directory called /hooks under yor local Git working directory, called .git; the instructions below shuold be followed in order to ensure that you have the latest versions of these files in their intended locations.

git init

Once you have installed these two files, every commit you do will re-write your RDF/OWL files in a consistent way that can be compared and merged with work done by other FIBO collaborators. 

Local Testing tools

FIBO developers are accustomed to using desktop tools like Protege, TopBraid Composer, VOM, and MagicDraw/CCM.  These tools include a variety of tests that experienced users rely on to determine the correctness of their models. In order to satisfy themselves that the ontologies are correct, they need to be able to test the same configuration of ontologies that will be published (i.e., Production and Development, see above).  

In order to make this possible on their local machine, developers need to be able to load just the Release ontologies (from their current testbed).  This is done by creating a file called AboutProd.ttl (also AboutProd.rdf).   Developers working with the pre-release files will want to load all FIBO files; this is done with a files called AboutDev.ttl (also AboutDev.rdf).  These About files load the same files that are loaded by the publish process of FIBO (for Prod and Dev, respectively).  

Some tools (e.g., Protege and CCM) use catalog files to manage the file loading.  These can also be automatically created. 

To perform local testing, do the following steps:

  1. Make sure you can run a Bash shell.  Windows now has a native Bash shell (Windows 10).  One is also available as part of SourceTree. 
  2. Download the FIBO tools from  Unzip this into your FIBO installation directory. 
  3. Create a catalog file by running the shell command ./ (optional, for use with Protege or CCM only)
  4. Create the About files by running the shell command ./ (this can take a while)
  5. Load AboutProd.ttl (.rdf) or AboutDev.ttl (.rdf) to perform local tests. 

Step 3 needs to be done again whenever you create a new file or change the base URI of a file. 

Step 4 needs to be done again whenever you change the maturity level or base URI of a file, add a new file, or delete a file. 

Automated Testing

When FIBO is 'pushed' to a registered fork, a Jenkins job runs to perform standard tests. These tests are strict and comprehensive for the Production release of FIBO, and are quite lax for the Development release of FIBO (for Development, they just check that nothing is referenced unless it is defined)

Automated Publication

When a pull request results in a new version of FIBO in the EDMC repository, a series of publication processes are performed according to the FIBO publication policy.