Borland brings UML approach to .Net

Borland Software is bringing modeling and designing capabilities to the .Net development community in a new incarnation of its Together tool.

Together Edition for Microsoft Visual Studio.Net integrates UML (Unified Modeling Language) design and modeling with the code in the Microsoft .Net Framework and reduces the complexity of UML, according to Todd Olson, chief scientist for the Together line at Borland.

Borland's LiveSource functionality, for instance, enables developers to synchronize models and code so that any changes users make to a model automatically take hold in the code.

"The audience of .Net programmers really has not been using UML, but they've gotten closer," said Jim Duggan, an analyst with Gartner. "Design-driven programming tends to be more popular as you attempt bigger application development projects."

Such projects typically are associated with Java rather than .Net, he added, and J2EE developers have embraced onboard modeling.

The modeling that Microsoft offers comes via Visio, and a big perk to Together is that "the models you build are tightly integrated with the code for the application development lifecycle," said Prashant Sridharan, senior product manager for the developer and platform division at Microsoft.

Sridharan said that Microsoft will further discuss its own plans for modeling tools at the upcoming PDC (Professional Developer's Conference), slated for late October.

"The (Together product) fits the (strategy) of Microsoft to push in the direction of modeling," Duggan said. "Though it's a bit of a contrast to Microsoft's own design for modeling, which will involve BizTalk."

Also new to Together for Visual Studio are pattern support, which provides application blueprints that can be used to facilitate re-use, and automatic documentation generation, designed to make documentation easier to create and share, Olson said.

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