Developers Expect Nod for UML 2.0 Standard

The Object Management Group will meet in Paris next week to vote on Version 2.0 of Unified Modeling Language.

The Object Management Group will meet in Paris next week to vote on Version 2.0 of Unified Modeling Language, a language that supports analysis and design in a variety of tools and promises to open new horizons for developers.

The first UML 2.0 specifications were adopted as OMG standards in March—covering Infrastructure, Object Constraint Language and Diagram Interchange Protocol. A fourth specification, Superstructure, is expected to be voted on at the meeting next week, completing the recommendation process for the latest UML version.

Few developers will be looking forward to UML 2.0 more than IBM. Sridhar Iyengar, a Distinguished Engineer with IBM, in Raleigh, N.C., and a member of the OMG Architecture board, said IBM researchers are looking into several innovations using the new specification.

IBM will be looking to build a UML profile for testing. This work will lead to "using modeling not just for analysis and design but for testing," Iyengar said. "We expect this technology will become a standard," he said.

IBMs approach to modeling signals a race with Microsoft Corp., which is warming up to the OMG for similar purposes. Microsoft will support modeling in its upcoming Jupiter e-business suite, which will compete with IBMs WebSphere.

Iyengar said IBM is also looking to provide support for modeling business rules and add business modeling standards. The OMG has a business rules working group to which IBM has submitted a paper describing its work. "But this is in the early stages," Iyengar said. Standards in these areas are expected next year, he said.

Modeling at IBM

  • Being implemented in all major brands: Rational, WebSphere, DB2 and Tivoli, with Lotus to come
  • Modeling used for tools integration, application development, data warehouse management and Web services
  • Moving from MDA to Model Driven Business Integration
  • Mapping UML to Business Process Execution Language
In addition to its use of the MDA (Model Driven Architecture) specification, IBM is pushing toward a new area, which Iyengar calls Model Driven Business Integration, while the company also has a focus on model-driven tool integration and model-driven application development, he said.

MDA allows developers to design, build, integrate and manage applications throughout the life cycle while separating technology and business concerns, Iyengar said.

EMF (Eclipse Modeling Framework) is the glue that holds together IBMs modeling strategy. "EMF is the technology that unifies the world of modeling in WebSphere and DB2," Iyengar said. "The use of EMF will increase within IBM and externally," among members of the IBM-sponsored organization, which oversees the Eclipse open-source development platform, he said.

"I was at an IBM Web services meeting in Atlanta recently, and it is clear they are with the [modeling] program," said Tom Henner, a principal with BankHost Inc., an Atlanta-based banking company that has used modeling to develop a browser-based international banking application. "BankHost developed its application using IBMs Rational Rose for UML modeling," Henner said.

In a report on IBMs modeling strategy, Aberdeen Group Inc. analyst Tim Sloane, in Boston, said: "For competitors, the fact that IBM has made modeling central to its go-to-market model for both IBM Global Services and IBM products should give them pause for consideration. Is your company positioned to implement a similar plan?"