Visual Studio Gets its Modeling Together A new Borland product—announced at VSLive!—brings real benefits to developers, and fills a Visual Studio need.
by Jeff Hadfield
VSLive! Orlando, September 11, 2003
"If you put the right tools inside the developers' IDE, they see the benefits and use them," said Tony de la Llama, Vice President/General Manager of the Together Business Unit at Borland. In an exclusive
interview, de la Llama explained why Borland's new Borland Together Edition for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET might make modeling palatable for developers.
"Developers need to understand complex systems. Together puts the tools they need to do so at their disposal," he explained.
Microsoft's Prashant Sridharan featured Borland's Together software in Wednesday's VSLive! Orlando keynote address. The announcement of a new modeling partner for Microsoft did not come as a surprise.
IBM's acquisition of longtime Microsoft partner Rational, while not eliminating Rational's support for Microsoft products, raised questions about the relationship. Rational had traditionally filled the
"modeling partner" role for Visual Studio.
Borland's Together tool, however, was less of a stretch than it might initially have seemed. As de la Llama explained, Microsoft first wanted to ensure that it wasn't written in Java. Turns out that the
Visual Studio product is written in 100 percent C#. Plus, he continued, it's a modeling tool developers actually like to use.
Developers often feel that a modeling tool is a corporate imperative—something that gets in the way of delivering software. But Together, de la Llama explained, was designed with developer needs put first.
So, he confided, not only does Together sport key enterprise features such as UML support, integration with architect roles through LiveSource technology, and so forth, but also offers features that developers demand.
"I was at the forefront of hearing our developer customer requests for a modeling tool more tightly integrated with the IDE," de la Llama explained. "Customer requests have really driven what's in this
product, and the real-world benefits to the developer will drive its adoption.
"Together includes not just what you'd expect in the 'academic' world of modeling," he continued, "but it's moved very quickly into the developer's world because it provides real-world capabilities." Some
of these real-world, developer-centric capabilities are code examination through audits and metrics, and documentation generation—where developers can drop models right into application documentation.
What's the final effect on the Visual Studio developer? That remains to be seen. This new product offers a solid solution for developers who need to keep track of complex systems and applications—and it's a solution from a proven provider. Microsoft and Borland have a long history of cooperation balanced with competition (as de la Llama put it, the two companies are either "competing very tightly or partnering very tightly," usually at the same time). In order to drive .NET adoption into increasingly complex enterprise application development scenarios, modeling capabilities are essential, and this is a new, worthy addition to the Microsoft developer's arsenal.
For more details, visit www.borland.com/together. Borland is also offering a trial version (for a limited time): see details at www.borland.com/together/msvs/index.html.
About the Author Jeff Hadfield is vice president of the Windows Publishing Group at Fawcette Technical Publications Inc.