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Microsoft Looks Beyond UML

Microsoft has been coy, saying it will support UML as well as other "domain-specific languages."

The December approval of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) 2.0 specification by the Object Management Group marked a milestone for software modeling, helping to recast the mainframe practice of analyzing and modeling applications before writing them. IBM is strongly behind the standard, but Microsoft has been coy, saying it will support UML as well as other "domain-specific languages" in its upcoming Whitehorse modeling suite, set for release as part of Visual Studio .Net 2005. Other approaches are needed, Microsoft contends, because UML is too general for some applications. Defenders of UML-IBM, in particular-counter that support for domain-specific modeling is an important part of UML 2.0 and that Microsoft's approach will weaken the standard and potentially lead to modeling languages that can't communicate with each other.

If you remember the IBM/Microsoft race to acquire Rational (now IBM Rational)-the leading vendor of UML tools-it's easy to think Microsoft is up to its usual competitive tricks. But if Whitehorse succeeds, it could incorporate domain-specific tools from many sources, including those using UML. Then it becomes a matter of which tools are more effective and popular with developers. Whether this helps or hinders UML as a standard is bound to remain an ongoing controversy.

UPGRADES IN UML 2.0PURPOSE
·Better defined UML run-time semantics and modeling concepts·Supports automation
·Can model very large software systems·Provides abstraction where needed most
·Can specify complex functions·Leverages standards
·Modularized into independent sublanguages·Lowers complexity of the language

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