Sun Combines NetBeans, Software Architecture

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-05-07

Sun Microsystems Inc.s NetBeans became the first major open source tools platform to implement the Model Driven Architecture (MDA), the company announced Tuesday.

Sun officials said the company has contributed a series of modules supporting the Object Management Groups (OMGs) MDA to the NetBeans open source project. The information can be found at

The MDA represents an advanced approach to software design based on models created using languages such as the Unified Modeling Language, or UML, the Palo Alto, Calif., company said. According to the OMGs approach, as business requirements change or evolve, components of model-driven applications can easily be replaced, as long as they are standards-based. Models use a set of metadata—the data describing the structure and characteristics of program elements or data.

In addition, the MDA can help simplify the implementation of Web services, because the architecture insulates models from changes in the deployment infrastructure for the services, Sun officials said. And the MDA helps protect organizations software investments by capturing business logic.

Sun recently contributed Metadata Repository modules to NetBeans, to make it easier for developers to support another programming language without extensive extra programming and to write NetBeans-based tools that interoperate with standards-based modeling tools, the company said.

Simon Phipps, Suns chief technology evangelist, said that "this changes how you do enterprise software development. It will let you do modeling, not just programming."

Sun officials said with its standards support, NetBeans will make it easier for developers to build model-driven programs. In addition, developers can support new programming languages without tediously writing APIs and custom support classes for each language.

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