Microsoft Zeros In on Model-Based Programming

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2003-07-24 Print this article Print

Microsoft will be moving more deeply into the model-based programming space, said company chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates.

REDMOND, Wash.—Microsoft Corp. will be moving more deeply into the model-based programming space, said company chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates.

Gates, who was the opening speaker at the Microsoft Financial Analysts Meeting here Thursday, listed model-driven development as one of the companys software advances and said that the use of modeling will become available in interim products leading up to the release of the companys Longhornoperating system in 2005.

Gates described modeling as using "very high-level specs that describe how software is to be pulled together… We see that as literally part of the source code." Indeed Gates said modeling is to become an integral part of "how to create that code."

Microsoft has been making moves toward broad support for modeling, beyond the Visio diagramming and modeling tool the company offers today.

In fact, the company has been working with the Object Management Group (OMG) and has support for the OMGs Unified Modeling Language (UML) and is looking into supporting the Model-Driven Architecture (MDA).

Sources said Microsoft courted Rational Software Corp. heavily before the company was acquired by IBM Corp. Microsofts interest, sources said, was in Rationals modeling expertise. IBM is now pushing Rationals modeling technology throughout its toolset and integrating features in both its WebSphere application server and DB2 database, among other technologies.

Sources said Microsoft is definitely warming up to the OMGbecause the company is delving more into modeling and architecture work. Microsoft also has sponsored two four-day OMG Web services workshops this year, one in Munich, Germany, and one in Philadelphia in April, where Microsoft representatives gave presentations on services-oriented architectures and MDA issues. Unisys Corp., a member of the OMG and a tight Microsoft integration partner, jointly presented with Microsoft. Their presentation was titled "Microsoft Jupiter and the Unisys MDA Process."

Microsoft supports UML today in its Visual Studio .Net Enterprise Architect edition, and sources said Microsoft plans to support MDA in Jupiter, the code name for its upcoming e-business suite and collaboration portal software.

Another source close to Microsoft said the company is becoming more interested in model architectures because of the growing complexity in enterprise systems.

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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