New Tools Ease Modeling for Developers

Companies go ahead with rollouts, although UML standard not ready.

Companies are not waiting for standards for model-driven development to coalesce but rather are releasing tools designed to make modeling easier for developers.

Oracle Corp., WebPutty Inc. and Computer Associates International Inc. late last month announced new tools even though the Object Management Group continues to hash out the details of its UML (Unified Modeling Language) 2.0, which is the next version of its modeling standard. UML is also the basis for another OMG standard, Model Driven Architecture, which enables developers to create applications directly from models as opposed to writing code.

UML 2.0 was to be released as early as last year but is not likely to be completed until early next year. Richard Soley, chairman and CEO of the OMG, in Needham, Mass., said UML 2.0 is late because the submission for the standard featured 57 companies, the largest number of submissions ever made to an OMG process.

Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., last week released Oracle9i JDeveloper Version 9.0.3, the latest version of its Java integrated development environment, which includes UML support. Oracles product features UML modeling and generation support for Enterprise JavaBeans 2.0, including session beans, entity beans and message-driven beans, officials said.

They said a key differentiator from other modeling development companies is that Oracles UML support is integrated directly into its J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) support.

WebPutty, of San Jose, Calif., late last month unveiled Version 6 of WebPutty Application Platform, which includes modeling capability as a highlight of its new functions. The platform automates the development, integration and maintenance of applications and Web services, and its modeling capabilities include delivering views of applications, such as object relationships; the ability to map dependencies of one object with others; and user interface flow, company officials said.

Meanwhile, CA, of Islandia, N.Y., announced its Advantage Gen for Enterprise Servers Release 6.5, a development environment for building J2EE applications and Web services. Advantage Gen 6.5 also features key modeling support, which lets users separate business rules from the underlying platform, generating several business applications from a single model, officials said.

Robert Handler, an analyst with Meta Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn., said modeling is increasingly important in application development. "We cant afford to make mistakes," Handler said. "In a tight economy, there is less cushion for error or inefficiency. A picture really is worth a thousand words."

Tom Henner, a principal with BankHost Inc., in Atlanta, said the company uses modeling technology to develop a browser-based international banking application. "[It] lets us focus on documenting the application with a UML tool, by converting that logic into code for a chosen architecture," Henner said.

Henner also said the technology, Metanology Corp.s Meta Development Environment, or MDE, "lets us create our own patterns to fit our business requirements and then generates everything from the user interface to the database schema."