Microsoft Business Framework

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2005-01-31 Print this article Print

What about the Microsoft Business Framework [MBF]? When will we see that? I heard that was delayed because of the changes as well. Somasegar: The way this happened was previously we used to have object spaces and entity persistence because we wanted a way to have a relational store for MBF. We made a decision to say we are going to align our technologies here and really take a bet on WinFS where WinFS is also going to provide a high-quality relational store in addition to providing a high-performance file system. So in some sense we said MBF was going to take a dependency on WinFS. Now with WinFS shipping in 2007, under the current plan of record, well ship MBF with WinFS. But we are also starting to look into whether there is a way to accelerate the delivery of MBF. And the teams are working through plans.
So no date?
Somasegar: No date today. If we continue with the dependency on WinFS and wait until WinFS is ready to ship, then it will be 2007 whenever WinFS ships. But if we can accelerate the relational store and we can get done earlier, then well get done earlier. And our hope is … to get done earlier than later. The big thing that we want to do in the MBF context is we have … a program called TAP, the Technology Adoption Program, where when we are developing a product we pick a finite number of large customers who are going to work with us hand in hand through the development process, and these guys are committing to building something on the new platform and deploying that in their production environment before we ship the product. In some sense if you look at the ship criteria for our products today, one of the ship criteria is sign off by the TAP customers. So for MBF weve got about 30 TAP customers around the world. The key is for us to give them early drops of our code so they can see what we are building and start building their application on MBF. So our plan is we are working on the M3 milestone and well provide an early drop of that code to the 30 TAP customers so they can stop working and give us feedback. Ive heard MBF is being refocused as a DSL [domain specific language] tool now. … Is this true? If so, why the change? Somasegar: We have always thought of MBF as a framework that is focused at the line-of-business [LOB] ISVs. That still is absolutely how we think about MBF. In that sense, you can think about MBF as more specifically targeted at business applications, but it is not a DSL tool. The set of graphical designers that we ship with VS 2005 [code-named Whitehorse] is an example of a DSL tool. When are we going to see the Software Factories stuff in Microsoft developer products? Somasegar: The way you want to think about it is its really a combination of technologies or tools. Its a combination of building in some prescriptive guidance, some process guidance and a bunch of what I call solution accelerators or templates and the like to make it easy for people to go through the software factory notion of building software. And with Visual Studio 2005 you are going to see the first instantiation of the tools, the process guidance, the prescriptive guidance, and templates and solution accelerators coming together where they can really execute on the notion of software factories. So thats the first time youll see that coming together. So well see some in Whidbey? Sridharan: What youll see are components of it. But there is a larger vision associated with what software factories are. Somasegar: The first step is what youll see in Visual Studio 2005 when the Team System stuff ships. And then Orcas will take it forward, and the next version will take it forward. But when will we see the vertical tools focus of this stuff? Sridharan: I think youll see that in the near term. Im not sure exactly when, but thats something were working with a number of our partners on. Somasegar: Thats something to remember because some of it we will do, but a lot of it well likely expect our partners to step up and work with us in delivering the tools for the vertical space. Sridharan: The key thing is software factories are not a Microsoft thing, theyre an industry thing. I think its in our best interest to make software factories an industry thing … to shepherd it but not to exert a lot of control over it. And to get a lot more people involved and interested in it. And that needs to happen in its own sort of vacuum first. That ecosystem needs to thrive first without a lot of scrutiny from the outside world. Then once they have critical mass they can go outside. And thats sort of where we are right now. Somasegar: And I think once people hear our story theyll realize there isnt really a fight about it, but that were thinking about it in a broader way than what some people are thinking about. And we see a world that is a broad world where those people who have a little bit narrower focus than what we have, they can still plug into that world and the world is one happy place. I think as people begin to understand more of what were saying about domain-specific languages and the broad spectrum of things you can do in modeling, there isnt going to be this "us versus them" attitude. We just need to do a good job of articulating our story and backing it up with the tools and technology. Sridharan: Certainly from our perspective theres going to be no "us versus them" attitude. Were going to do UML, and were going to do a lot more. Next Page: What about Sparkle?

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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