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Borland Gets Together Again With .NET

Software development tool vendor Borland updated its modeling platform for Visual Studio .NET developers, officials announced Monday.

Together 2005 for Microsoft Visual .NET is the first update for the modeling tool in nearly a year, featuring roles-based modeling and support for Unified Modeling Language 2.0.

Borland's Together tool is the modeling foundation for the company's upcoming software delivery optimization framework, code-named Themis, targeting the entire application lifecycle management platform. The modeling software is separated into three job functions: architect, designer and developer.

The new software is Borland's first .NET modeling product to include roles-based software development, with software activities broken down by designers and developers.

Officials say the Together update is a bridge between the modeling environment favored by Microsoft , domain-specific languages (DSL) and the more robust UML schema.

"[Developers] may want to use UML to do their high-level enterprise architecture and use DSLs for specific services or components and vice versa," said Tom Gullion, Borland Together product manager. "It's really a flexibility that only Borland can provide to the market today and something I think Microsoft will also leverage as well because they are not looking at UML, they're focusing much more on the DSL side."

Together Designer is for the architects and analysts who come up with a software project's design and model requirements. The software integrates with Visual Studio 2003 and now features object constraint language (OCL) support to augment UML modeling and the ability to search on the diagram.

Designers can now also import .mdl files from IBM's own visual modeling and development tool, Rational Rose.

"Rational has not been doing a lot in the .NET space and it doesn't look like they're going to be supporting the Microsoft Visual Studio 2003/2005 platform, so we want to make it easier on those communities to continue their UML efforts and work and be able to migrate easily into Borland's capabilities," Gullion said.

Together Developer 2005 builds on the core features of its previous iteration with improved support for Visual Basic programmers. Developers can now refactor and audit VB.NET code, and the update includes new metrics for VB.NET and C# programmers.

Borland is also looking to expand the role of software development from a model-driven development, where visual models are created before code is written, to the model-driven architecture, which intends to separate business and application logic from the development platform it's created. Officials say they've gotten a start with support for MDA standards OCL and XML Metadata Interchange.

Borland has been working with Microsoft since October to provide similar UML 2.0 support within the upcoming Visual Studio 2005 Team System and expects to release a tool soon after Microsoft's launch. The second beta version of Visual Studio is now available.