Borland Software Corporation today announced the newest release of Borland® Together® 2005 for Microsoft® Visual Studio® .NET, a significantly updated version of its popular Together modeling suite for Visual Studio .NET users. The release marks the first Borland role-based modeling solution for .NET and is one of the first products to support the UML® 2.0 standard for Microsoft’s development environment.
Together for Visual Studio .NET provides Visual Studio developers with an important bridge between Microsoft’s own modeling solutions, including the emerging Software Factories approach, and advanced modeling benefits offered through the use of the industry standard Unified Modeling Language™ (UML). The new Together 2005 for Visual Studio .NET suite includes Together Designer and Together Developer, integrated and easy-to-use products made available individually for role-specific modeling functions within the software development lifecycle.
“Modeling will continue to play an increasing role in making software delivery more successful by reducing the risk of project failure, reducing costs through reuse and enhancing team communication,” said Raaj Shinde, vice president of product strategy and architecture, Borland. “But in order to see these gains, teams need easier-to-use tools that allow them to see the merits of modeling individually yet provide the ability to work seamlessly across job functions. Together 2005 helps make modeling and UML more approachable and usable for the growing number of .NET users by giving analysts, designers and developers the right tools specific to their job function.”
Flexible, Easy-to-Use Modeling for .NET
Together 2005 for Visual Studio .NET is designed to provide Microsoft developers with flexible levels of modeling capabilities based on the specific degree of modeling complexity and utilization preferred by their teams and business requirements. Capabilities range from use case diagrams and physical class models, to audits, metrics and re-factorings, as well as initial support for Model-Driven Architectures (MDAs). This flexibility makes the tools easier to use, while helping organizations elevate their modeling practices to more efficiently and successfully develop software.
“The more formal and rigorous your models, the more you can benefit from automated transformations and generation of code,” stated Carl Zetie, vice president of Forrester Research in a January 2005 report entitled, ‘Model-Driven’ Matters More Than MDA. “However, even without formal models, you can gain a better shared understanding of business requirements and of the structure of implemented code. Even formalizing a small subset of models – such as class diagrams – opens up the opportunity for gains in productivity.”
“We see domain-specific tools such as Together for Visual Studio .NET as a great way for organizations to improve the rate of success for their development life-cycle processes,” said Prashant Sridharan, lead program manager of Visual Studio 2005 Team System at Microsoft Corp. “These tools help organizations take advantage of advanced modeling capabilities and are the first step toward a Software Factory approach to development.”
A Role-Based Modeling Solution
The new role-specific design of Together for Visual Studio .NET is intended to help Visual Studio .NET users more effectively realize the benefits of modeling within their software development efforts. Challenges that have historically thwarted widespread adoption of modeling practices – such as lack of standardization, the ability to organize and understand large volume of requirements and difficult, often complex tools – are greatly mitigated through the role-based design and flexible nature of the Together 2005 suite.
The Together for Visual Studio .NET suite offers two role-specific products, Together Designer and Together Developer. Together Designer targets analysts and architects that need to validate software design and model requirements, while Together Developer targets developers that need to reduce complexity, improve quality and more easily understand their existing code base. Specific features and benefits include:
*Lower the risk of software implementation – The risk of common and avoidable errors during the design and build phases are reduced with key capabilities like design patterns, code visualization and re-factoring, which drive higher-quality applications without slowing development cycles. Audits and metrics enable coding standards to be measured and tracked within the models, while built-in unit testing helps uncover issues earlier in development.
*Improve efficiencies in the development lifecycle – Extensive automation and timesaving capabilities enable development teams to work more productively. Key capabilities include automatic document generation; reuse of software assets such as patterns and component definition; rapid propagation of changes through re-factoring; and diagram search capabilities. In addition, unique Borland LiveSource™ reverse-engineering technology offers “round-trip” capabilities that help keep models and code synchronized at all times.
*Increase communication and visibility between roles – Together 2005 enables teams to collaborate more effectively by providing seamless workflow between design and implementation models. For teams working on either new or existing applications, improving communication about design and code significantly reduces the risk of project failure.
*Leverage investments and support multiple platforms – Organizations can use Together 2005 to create platform-neutral designs that target multiple platforms, with support for a wide range of programming languages through integration with IDE environments, enabling developers to transform these designs into platform-specific models.
*Enhanced support for Microsoft® Visual Basic® .NET and Visual C# .NET – Features such as Visual Basic (VB) .NET re-factoring, VB.NET audits, and metrics for both Visual C#® .NET and VB.NET improve developer productivity and code quality.
Bridging UML with the Growing .NET World
Use of Microsoft .NET technologies is on the rise. A recent study by Forrester Research shows that more than 50 percent of enterprise software decision-makers indicated they were planning to use .NET development technologies.1 Borland Together 2005 brings the benefits of UML, including UML 1.4 and UML 2.0 diagramming, and numerous other advanced modeling capabilities to the expanding pool of Visual Studio .NET users.
UML is a standardized set of modeling notations used as a language for designing and developing software applications, and is becoming the foundation of many organizations’ modeling efforts. UML 2.0 has significant improvements including the ability to facilitate modeling with very large software systems, better-defined UML run-time semantics, modeling concepts to better support automation and support of component-based architecture design.
Advancing Model-Driven Development
The role-based design of Together 2005 is well suited for model-driven development, which involves the creation of models before source code is written and is particularly well suited for distributed and offshore project teams. Together 2005 enables teams to focus on solving critical design challenges versus spending limited time and resources on low-level language errors. The product also supports the implementation of MDA designs, a type of model-driven development that focuses on how systems are architected and designed and leverages the UML specification.
MDA designs seek to separate business and application logic from the underlying platform technology, providing a platform-independent model of an application that is capable of more easily adjusting to business and technology changes while promoting interoperability between platforms. Together 2005 helps enable organizations to conform with key MDA standards beyond UML, including XML Metadata Interchange (XMI®) and Object Constraint Language (OCL).
“Model Driven Architecture, the leading model-driven paradigm, enables software teams to take an application from requirements to code very rapidly and makes it easier to create a visual design that aligns business requirements with the end product,” said Dr. Richard Mark Soley, chairman and chief executive officer of OMG. “By making it much easier to create platform-independent models, Together technologies can help make the concepts of MDA a reality. We’re very pleased to have a modeling leader like Borland contribute to the direction and adoption of MDA technologies.”
Application Lifecycle Support
Together 2005 for Visual Studio .NET supports the entire application lifecycle to ensure seamless transitions from one phase to the next. For example, integration with Borland’s CaliberRM™ requirements management product helps keep design models tightly mapped to requirements.
Together 2005 is also closely aligned with Borland’s Software Delivery Optimization vision, as modeling plays a key part of making software delivery a more manageable and repeatable business process. By extending diagramming capabilities and linking internal code metrics to external metrics (process and performance) for analysis, organizations are able to ensure delivered software meets business and operational requirements.
Borland Together 2005 for Visual Studio .NET is now available. Together Designer and Together Developer for Visual Studio .NET can be purchased as an integrated suite or as individual products. For more information, please go to http://www.borland.com/together.