Microsoft Delivers Oslo Components

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-10-27 Print this article Print

Microsoft delivers the components of its "Oslo" modeling initiative at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC). The company provided community technology previews of the Oslo repository, the new declarative "M" modeling language, and its new visual modeling tool known as Quadrant. Microsoft also plans to make Oslo part of its Open Specifications Promise (OSP).

LOS ANGELES -- Microsoft delivered on its promise to provide developers with the core components of its "Oslo" modeling initiative and has released other Oslo-related resources on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN).

At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference here, Burley Kawasaki, director of product management in Microsoft's Connected Systems Division, said Microsoft delivered Community Technology Previews (CTPs) of the three components of Oslo: the declarative modeling language known as "M," a new visual modeling tool known as Quadrant and the Oslo repository.

In addition, Microsoft released a new Oslo Developer Center on MSDN, which is a subset of the CTP focusing on the "M" language. "We want to encourage people to start to write domain specific languages (DSLs) based on "M," Kawasaki said.

In another move, Microsoft is putting the "M" language under its Open Specification Promise (OSP), Kawasaki said. "For this to have an impact it needs to be more than Microsoft just having a Windows implementation, but that others can have it and do their own version," he said.

In a blog post describing the interoperability aspects of Microsoft's moves at the PDC thus far, Sam Ramji, Microsoft's Senior Director of Platform Strategy, said:

"Finally, Microsoft is also going to publish the -M' language specification, including MSchema, MGrammar and MGraph, under the Open Specification Promise. This will facilitate the interoperability of the -Oslo' declarative modeling language, codenamed "M," with prominent industry standards such as WS* specifications,

Kawasaki said the OSP is a licensing arrangement that allows any third party to implement a Microsoft specification and do their own version. "We've done the same thing with XAML [Extensible Application Markup Language] and other things," he said.

Moreover, regarding the "M" language component of Oslo, Kawasaki said, "We think the DSLs in particular will make this very approachable for developers. Indeed, "you can write down a model and we can deploy that onto Azure just like we ca deploy to Dublin," Kawasaki said. Windows Azure is Microsoft's new cloud initiative, and Dublin is the codename for a distributed application server from Microsoft. And "over time a way we can have a broad on-ramp to the cloud is through DSLs," Kawasaki said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has launched a site called "Models Remixed" at to demonstrate the renewed relevance of modeling. The site displays a lighthearted video that depicts modeling through the ages, including cavemen writing on tablets, early Egyptians modeling pyramids, model rocket builders and more.  

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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