Monday, July 26, 2004

IBM Takes On Microsoft Over Modeling Tools

IBM Takes On Microsoft Over Modeling Tools
With the Texas panhandle as the backdrop, IBM called Microsoft Corp. out for an old-fashioned shootout last week when it unveiled its "Atlantic" tool suite.

With Atlantic, the code name for the next version of IBM Software Development Platform, IBM plans deeper integration among its components for designing, modeling, developing, testing, deploying and maintaining applications. Atlantic promises greater integration with the Java-based Eclipse open-source development platform and tight support for UML (Unified Modeling Language) 2.0.

One key issue separating IBM Rational's tools from Microsoft's VSTS (Visual Studio Team System) solution is the approach to modeling. UML is the OMG (Object Management Group) standard for modeling. IBM said it is necessary; Microsoft said it is not.

Rick LaPlante, general manager for VSTS at Microsoft, said UML represents an unnecessarily complex model for many developers and is not a strategy Microsoft will explicitly support. "Ten years from now, modeling won't be reserved for the priests in the organization," LaPlante said. "Nor will it be this thing done on the side that requires a special organization that is the only people who do modeling. I think it will become pervasive."

Atlantic is due by year's end, IBM officials said. Microsoft's VSTS will ship by the middle of next year, with the "Whidbey" version of Visual Studio and the "Yukon" database.

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