Microsoft Wants to Get Up the Software Development Food Chain

Microsoft recently announced at its fifth annual SOA & Business Process Conference a new vision and roadmap to simplify the effort required to design, build, deploy and manage composite applications. The code name for this project is “Oslo”. This new vision is loaded with all the current software development buzzwords like service-oriented architecture (SOA), business-process management (BPM) or model-driven development (MDD / MDA). In its press release Microsoft mentions that it “work to deliver a unified platform integrating services and modeling, moving from a world where models describe the application to a world where models are the application.”

This new roadmap is related to its Software Factory vision and is a clear strategy from Microsoft to extend the reach for its software development tools division. Currently, Microsoft is mainly considered as a programming tools (languages, databases) vendor. This new vision wants to implement a complete model-to-code environment. It is also a strategy to be present the Web services (SOA) space. The current initial trend to applications that mix content from different providers (also know as mash-up) has good chances to grow as companies will provide specialized services (mapping, computation engines, etc.) that will be integrated to the final solution for the end-user. Managing this new open architecture while guaranteeing security is a main challenge that will determine the expansion of Web services.

Even if nothing should be available before the end of next year (Visual Studio 10), this is clearly a menace for revenues of companies that are active in the application modeling area, moreover in the Microsoft eco-system like Borland or Sparx Systems. This initiative could be seen as a move from Microsoft to prevent its customers from buying product in these technologies (SOA, BPM, Workflow) from competitors like IBM, Oracle or BEA Systems. However, I think that this roadmap is mainly a bad news for smaller companies that wanted to provide independent solutions in the .NET world, even if we can remember many announces of ambitious architecture that have never materialized in working products.

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