Microsoft will launch Community Technology Previews this October of the three primary components of its Oslo project for model-driven software development.
These components include a modelling tool, a repository, and a declarative programming language, said Steven Martin, director of product management for the Microsoft Connected Systems Division, at the TechEd 2008 conference in Orlando.
The CTPs will be offered concurrently with the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, held on 27 to 30 October in Los Angeles.
With Oslo, first detailed by Microsoft last autumn, the company is looking to refocus application development to have models themselves become applications. Collaboration is a critical focus as well.
"Right now, you've got the ability to collaborate on application development within technical roles and business analysts also collaborate on design using Visio and collaboration tools," Martin said. "What we want to get to is a world where people in lots of roles both technical and non-technical can collaborate on design."
Oslo-based models will maintain deployment information such as system resources allocated to an application as well as information on service-level agreements. "We want to start capturing all the information that you need to run and manage an application in the model," Martin said.
The declarative language is intended to leverage declarative concepts to make it easier to customise applications and reduce the need to write code. It is to be used within Visual Studio and the BizTalk integration platform.
The repository, based on Microsoft's SQL Server database, will provide a single view of an application across different products, such as Visual Studio Team System application lifecycle management platform, Microsoft System Center, and BizTalk.
"We're going to get the same view. We want to eliminate the import-export, the moving around of the application," Martin said. The repository helps to unify multiple repositories across Microsoft products.
The modelling tool will be a graphical tool for building any kind of application.
"We're going to appeal to a much broader cross section of the end users. We think this will have mass appeal," Martin said. "IBM products tend to serve very specialised-role people within Fortune 1000 companies."
Microsoft also released a second beta version of its Silverlight 2 browser plug-in technology for rich Internet applications.
While acknowledging Silverlight is Microsoft's own proprietary technology and not standards-based like AJAX, Dave Mendlen, Microsoft director for developer tools marketing, said Silverlight offers a richer experience, such as the ability to stream video.