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Borland Wants Devs, Analysts to Get Together

Officials at Borland gave developers a look at the visual design component of its software delivery optimization (SDO), code-named Themis, called Together modeling. The demo took place at the Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA) Conference held in Vancouver, Canada.,

Appropriately named after the Greek goddess of law and order, Themis is Borland's vision of how software in the application lifecycle management (ALM) should be ruled, focusing on examining, analyzing and communicating design implementations in software applications.

Together is the modeling foundation upon which the Borland SDO platform, due out in the first half of 2005, will deliver its applications in the enterprise. It's broken down into three distinct functions:

  • Together Architect - the business-specific, platform-neutral basis for enterprise software project modeling. Based on the Unified Modeling Language (UML), it's the "big picture" representation of how the application should work, with software architects working with business analysts to determine the application requirements.
  • Together Designer - A cross-platform modeler based on business-defined requirements, using UML 1.4 and UML 2.0 and not a particular code base, like .NET or Java 2, Enterprise Edition .
  • Together Developer - the developer platform for Borland's software modeling suite. Because it's platform-independent, programmers can code in Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE , Borland's own JBuilder, SAP's NetWeaver and Java's Eclipse IDE, among others. Developers can also reverse-engineer code from Developer, as well as transform and synchronize models and code.

Designer and Developer are due out in November and December, respectively, while Architect is immediately available. Taken together, Borland's ALM solution recognizes the need for cooperation and coordination between the developers who make the program and the business people who use the program.

"Software development today is a team sport, and it's much more than people just writing software and code," said Raaj Shinde, Borland Together vice president and general manager. "So for the past three years, Borland has been focused on what we call the application lifecycle, part of our application lifecycle management software, which goes from requirement to retirement."

Borland isn't the only software developer using ALM in its lexicon. Earlier this month, IBM's Rational group came out with an Eclipse-based ALM tool, code-named Atlantic, due out Dec. 3. Like Together, Atlantic will focus on business analyst-developer interaction; both recognize the importance of and will support UML 2.0.

Shinde said Borland is more than happy to have IBM out there promoting its Atlantic brand to the world, because it validates what they've been working on the past three years while it ultimately falls short of the .NET and J2EE adaptability that Borland's Together provides.

Borland, he said, doesn't have a stack or platform agenda to protect, leaving it free to deal with companies that J2EE-based IBM will have to compete against with other software products. Where IBM competes with Oracle for database customers, BEA Systems on middleware and -- more important -- Microsoft on development framework, Borland is the "sweet center" in software development tools.

"We find that a majority of our customers in the Global 5000 don't have the luxury of being wedded to one platform," he said. "There are people who have multiple application servers; especially in a day and age where there is a lot of consolidation going on, when you have those consolidations going on, it's very difficult to find a company that is focused on one platform."