Microsoft Corp is expected to take its first step in delivering on a strategy helping ISVs build tools for creating application models and architectures capable of plugging into the company’s application lifecycle management platform due next year.
The company will release early code, called a Community Technology Preview (CTP), for a planned software development kit that enables partners and customers to build their own tools for us in specific domains, like healthcare, to model software applications.
Tools built using the SDK will plug into Microsoft’s planned Visual Studio 2005 integrated development environment and the associated Visual Studio 2005 Team System (VSTS) application lifecycle management (ALM) platform, both due during the first half of next year.
Partners Unisys Corp and Borland Software Corp and UK financial services customer Nationwide Building Society are expected to announce plans to use Microsoft’s planned SDK, at the Object Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA) conference in Vancouver, Canada.
The planned CTP builds towards a concept adopted by Microsoft called Software Factories by helping developers build their own modeling and architecture tools for use with Microsoft’s planned Software Factories, part of VSTS.
Software Factories are expected to feature domain specific tools, processes and content, that are intended for re-use by developers in that specific domain. Software Factories are expected to help make the underlying, generic VSTS modeling architecture more applicable to the needs of ALM teams serving specific markets.
Prashant Sridharan, senior product manager for the .NET developer product management group, called the SDK CTP Microsoft’s first down payment on software factories. SDK tools will work as part of VSTS Architect, previously codenamed Whitehorse.
We think today’s modeling tools are too generic… they don’t offer really easy or good way to customize, they are one size fits all. With Whitehorse, the SDK and extensibility model, we want to give customers and partners ability to build their own tools, Sridharan said.
Microsoft expects to release more CTPs before VSTS is launched next year, while Sridharan said in the long-term, Microsoft would introduce greater ability to customize across its tools, adding additional value in processes and frameworks.