Microsoft Sets Modeling Strategy, Joins OMG

Microsoft established its modeling strategy and joined the Object Management Group (OMG). With this move the company also is more explicitly supporting the Unified Modeling Language (UML).

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Once again, Microsoft has proclaimed its support for software modeling, this time joining the premier organization backing the adoption of modeling in the enterprise, the Object Management Group OMG, and pledging to support the OMG's primary modeling standard, the Unified Modeling Language.

Microsoft began talking about supporting modeling in earnest in 2003 when company Chairman Bill Gates announced to financial analysts that modeling would be a means by which Microsoft could make software development easier for developers. That vision is being borne out in the company's "Oslo" modeling platform, which Microsoft's CSD (Connected Systems Division) is championing. However, Oslo and the overall modeling initiative is intended to permeate Microsoft and reach users through various Microsoft groups and products, particularly the Developer Division and the company's flagship Visual Studio tools.

So although Microsoft announced on Sept. 10 its approach for taking modeling into mainstream industry use and announced its membership in OMG, Gates sort of pre-empted this announcement at Microsoft's TechEd Developers 2008 conference in Orlando in June when he said Microsoft would be providing support for UML in the upcoming version of Visual Studio.

The move indicates something of a turnabout for Microsoft and is supported by Bob Muglia, senior vice president, Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, who is credited with being serious about interoperability, transparency, openness and taking Microsoft beyond squabbles of the past. For instance, this is not the first time Microsoft has been a member of OMG. The company was previously a member of the organization, but fell out of favor with the group over disagreements around OMG's support for the CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture), as Microsoft was in favor of its own COM (Component Object Model) technology.

Moreover, although Microsoft is announcing its OMG membership now, sources said the company actually became a member as early as July. Yet, the move signals progress in an otherwise chilly relationship and indicates Microsoft's and Muglia's willingness to move beyond petty stances. For instance, Steve Cook, a Microsoft engineer who has been particularly critical of the UML specification, is now Microsoft's representative to the OMG.