Borland, Microsoft Bring UML to Visual Studio.NET

This week, Borland debuts its Together Edition for Visual Studio.NET, bringing integrated modeling and code management technologies to .NET devs. After more than a year of cooperation between Borland and Microsoft, see the benefits from new technologies that blend a C#-based UML modeling engine with code management tools from Borland and Visual Studio.NET from Microsoft. Also, get a 60-day free use license.

Tags: Modeling, UML, Visualize, NET Devs, Developers, Modeling Environment, Visual Studio,

This week, Borland debuts its Together Edition for Visual Studio.NET, bringing integrated modeling and code management technologies to .NET devs for the first time.

With the Together Edition for Visual Studio .NET, architects and developers can now use a single environment to design, model and develop their .NET applications, Borland's chief architect for Together Solutions Todd Olsen told IDN The tool, which follows more than a year of cooperation between Microsoft and Borland, is also the first such design and modeling environment written in native C#, offering 100% managed code for cleaner and more code-efficient integration with Visual Studio.NET, he added.

Notably, "fully-compliant" with UML is the basis for the underlying modeling engine for Together Edition for Visual Studio.NET. The use of UML will make it easier for .NET devs to integrate with non-.NET technologies that also follow UML, including Java/J2EE and legacy C/C++ applications.

The Together Edition for VS.NET will enable .NET devs for the first time to generate UML models of their code that will help them visualize the code, and the relations among code components. The tool's UML GUI will make it easier for devs within and across teams, to examine, analyze and share design information. The Together Edition also will include unit testing, audits, and metrics to allow teams to find errors early in development. Further, audits may be saved and shared with other projects, providing another timesaving advantage.

Microsoft is also jazzed about bringing modeling to .NET devs. In a statement, Marie Huwe, Microsoft's general manager said Together Edition for Visual Studio .NET offers "advanced design and modeling capabilities" for Visual Studio .NET 2003, and "delivers a compelling modeling environment for enterprise customers focused on productivity, quality, software asset reuse and team collaboration."

The key to this value-add is a combination of UML and Borland's LiveSource technology, which keeps models and the underlying code synchronized. "Too often, when developers or architects work with modeling, they end up with modeling artifacts that are just hung on walls," Borland's chief architect for Together Solutions Todd Olsen told IDN. "Now, we have tools that will help developers keep these the artifacts synchronized with their code and they can see what's happening in real time."

With the UML/LiveSource approach, when a dev changes models, those changes are simultaneously replicated in code. And, the synchronization can take place code-to-model, as well. This approach replaces traditional round-trip engineering methods, which typically result in models and code being out of synch when changes are made.

Inside Together Edition for Visual Studio .NET
The Together Edition for VS.NET is a result of more than a year of collaboration between Borland and Microsoft. Here are some of the key features:

  • Smooth integration with Visual Studio.NET

  • The integration of Together Edition for Visual Studio .NET will provides users with a familiar environment for developing software. From within the VS.NET environment, developers can leverage leading modeling, designing, and quality assurance functionality to build high-quality enterprise applications quickly.

  • Support for major UML diagrams

  • Leverage Unified Modeling Language (UML) to build the right architecture to meet your business objectives. Every software project needs a blueprint to keep the entire team moving in the same direction and building the right software. All UML 1..4 major diagrams, including class, use case, sequence, collaboration, activity, state, and component. All have cross-relational hyperlinking, including diagram-to-diagram, element-to-diagram, and element-to-artifact.

  • Support for UML profiles

  • Supporting UML profiles allows users to add extensions to the UML. The Together Edition for VS.NET will provide the ability to turn on and off additions to a dev's modeling environment to support UML 2.0 and business modeling. There are many suggested profiles available in literature and from the Object Management Group (OMG), custodian of the UML standard.

  • Quality Assurance

  • For QA, the metrics cover: basic heuristics, cohesion, coupling, complexity, encapsulation, volume/size, inheritance, comment ratio, etc. Devs can save metrics results and reload them later, and also compare sets of metrics results. QA tools include: distribution graph for metrics results; and an advice pane that displays tips for interpreting results and suggestions for how to "fix "your code; and tabular output with option to export results (text or HTML)

  • Auto-synchronized models/code via LiveSource

  • LiveSource enables more effective team communication and collaboration with synchronized models and code. Simultaneous synchronization makes manual updating a thing of the past by keeping development teams up-to-date with the same information. Models stay agile and do not become obsolete since any changes made by the team are always reflected both in the code and the models.

    A full version of Together Edition for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET is available for free download from Borland with time-limited limited usage beginning September 10 and ending November 30.