Borland offers UML for Microsoft developers

Borland Software on Monday upgraded its Together modeling suite for Microsoft Visual Studio .Net development. The suite now includes UML 2.0 capabilities.

Borland Together 2005 for Microsoft Visual Studio also offers role-based functions. The product provides a bridge between Microsoft's own modeling solutions, such as its Software Factories approach, and advanced modeling through UML. Suite components include Together Designer for software architects and analysts, and Together Developer for developers.

Leveraging UML 2.0 in the Designer product helps in specifying overall system architecture and designs, said Marc Brown, Borland director of product marketing. Developer users, meanwhile, can use UML 1.4 diagrams to visualize code. "It gives them the flexibility to update and create code in UML-class diagrams or [to use] the actual language itself and a text editor" for Visual Basic .Net or C#, Brown said. UML 2.0 backing is planned for Developer in 2006.

Believing UML 2.0 to be of limited interest, Microsoft has deferred to Borland to provide UML 2.0 support for Microsoft developers. "Most of the Microsoft customers historically did no modeling, so there is less of an interest for a robust IT modeling tool in the Microsoft base than there is in the Java base," said Michael Blechar, vice president of research and development at Gartner. With its products for .Net, Borland is seizing an opportunity to expand beyond its base of Java developers, Blechar said.

Microsoft's UML 2.0 stance has drawn scorn from officials at organizations such as IBM and the Object Management Group, which oversees the UML specification.

Meanwhile, an open source project has emerged to provide application lifecycle management for Microsoft developers. NTeam is being developed as an open source alternative to the upcoming Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System, said Jason Bentley, a co-founder of the project.

To be offered free of charge, NTeam will feature technologies such as NUnit, for unit testing, and NAnt, an open source build tool.

An initial release of NTEam technology will be released in 75 to 90 days for SMBs.

Although Visual Studio 2005 Team System has yet to be released, apparently it already has been given a thumbs-down in some circles. "It's way too expensive and it locks you into the tools that Microsoft provides," Bentley said.

Microsoft's Team System will be priced at US$2,799 for the server component, with a suite of products based on the platform to start at US$6,382.

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