The visual modeling editor of the Oslo platform is now available for community technology preview (CTP). Since the first Oslo CTP half a year ago, the focus of the public discourse has been the textual language M, taking a programmers’ perspective, focusing on the design of textual domain specific languages and repository database structures. For those of us more interested in visual modeling and a new paradigm for model-driven applications, it has been a long wait.

This post summarizes early experiences from playing with Quadrant. Its user interface is novel, uniform, and functional, but a bit cumbersome, and as an early preview it exposes a lot of the underlying wiring, nuts and bolts. Interesting features are the combination of textual and graphical views, and the use of multiple layers for zoom and navigation. Some functionality is well supported, such as customizing views and interacting with large models in multiple workpads. On the other hand, services for e.g. relationship modeling are poor. The current scope of Quadrant is limited to visualizing and editing instance data. Metamodeling and definition of new extents (storage areas) must be done in the Intellipad text editor. Read the rest of this entry »

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My first impression of Microsoft Oslo and the M modeling language was quite positive. In particular, their approach seemed to take better care of instances than e.g. UML does, and I applauded the use of extents (instance collections) rather than types to represent repository database tables.

Upon closer examination, however, some doubts appeared. The syntax seems unneccesarily complex, and the repository and M representations goes out of synch with regard to such basic functions as subtyping and the identity of the instances. This post proposes some adjustments to simplify M and better align the visual, textual and repository representations of Oslo.   Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve made a small effort to investigate the detailed properties of Microsoft Oslo, and how it could fit into a larger modeling environment that also includes Visio for business diagramming. As an example, I used the Enterprise Knowledge Architecture core, a simple language that we have defined for reflective and extensible architectures. First, the language was defined as types, extents and templates in Intellipad. Then these structures were deployed to the Oslo repository, and finally we used the data link feature in Visio to show the elements in a business diagram.
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With model-driven applications in Oslo, Microsoft aims to reduce the amount of code needed for custom applications by 90%. Recognizing that “the model is the application”, they envision a move away from the model editor as a separate tool for developers. In our perspective, UML is a visual programming language and Microsoft’s M is a textual modeling language. To be accessible to business users, a visual modeling language is needed.
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