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UML Goes Native in Sun's Java Studio

Sun Microsystems is adding a native version of Unified Modeling Language (UML) to its enterprise Java developer platform.

A licensing and development deal between the Santa Clara, Calif.-based network computer maker and Embarcadero Technologies will add Describe UML version 6.1 to its next release of Java Studio Enterprise platform.

UML is a general-purpose notational language for specifying and visualizing complex software, especially large, object-oriented projects. UML builds on previous notational methods such as Booch, OMT, and OOSE.

The Describe part of UML gives developers a shorter learning curve, Sun said. In addition, programming code and the UML models are always synchronized, which helps to speed up the developer's job by enabling the navigation and maintenance of code directly from the diagram.

Robin Smith, a product line manager at Sun, told internetnews.com the UML-enhanced version will come out with Java Studio Enterprise later this year, with early access scheduled for sometime in July.

"The UML feature lets developers generate code based on their models," Smith said. "For architects to structure applications in a visual runner and generate code from a visual model and then have that reflected back is what we're looking for."

The agreement with Embarcadero gives Sun unlimited distribution and usage rights to Describe's standards-based modeling technology. Previously, developers had to manage the features as a separate download with a separate pricing schedule. A USD$5 per employee license will include the right to use the software and developer services and is renewable each year, or as a USD$1895 perpetual seat license, Sun said.

Smith said the other obstacle had been that Embarcadero's platform was only available in Windows. The partnership lets Java developers run the Integrated Development Environment in the Java language with multi-platform support Windows, Linux and Solaris. The functions are also supported directly by Sun.

"Customers would say, 'Well, IBM's got UML in its WebSphere Studio Application Developer and Borland has it in JBuilder, what does Sun have?'" Smith said. "Now we can look at them and say we have an integrated UML offering that runs on all the platforms with hooked-in interfaces with our Java Enterprise System. So now we're on par with features and in some cases superior to the other vendors."

Smith said the addition of Describe UML also benefits Sun's Java Enterprise System, which includes including the Java System Directory Server, Java System Identity Server, Java System Portal Server, Java System Messaging Server and Java System Web Server.