If someone asks me Microsoft's strategy on application development, I would simply say SOA spanning across the servers, clients and the cloud. Microsoft is hitting on its strategy of SOA by releasing new products and platforms at a rapid rate. The next big thing from Microsoft towards this goal will be "Oslo".

Today in any typical application development scenario, there are various experts involved at different levels. Each if these experts try to develop a model of the area in which they have expertise. For example, business analyst might model the software requirements, architects model the high-level designs, administrative staff might model the deployment and maintenance requirements etc. Then developers develop the code corresponding to the model.

The approach is perfect where each person is doing his job in the field the he is expert but at the same time there are some impedance mismatch between these different sets of people. The models developed by an analyst is developed using entirely different set of tools than the tools used by an architect or developer. Not only this, if someone wants to be an end-to-end expert of the software lifecycle he will have to learn a vast range of tools, modeling languages etc. Even bigger than this is the problem when it comes to development. Developers have very less usage of the models that other experts have created as far as the development efforts are concerned. Models just remain a source of reference and this is the reason why modeling is still only at the surface of the software lifecycle.

To bridge all sorts of mismatch problems, Microsoft plans to bring an integrated environment for everyone. Analysts, Architects, IT professionals, Developers can all work together, and not only work together but also benefit from the model created by others practically. Microsoft is making it possible by building a general-purpose modeling language that everyone can use, common tools to automate the tasks and a repository where all the models will reside.

"Oslo" is the codename for all the technologies that will make this possible. With Oslo we can imagine a development environment where users will design a model for an application that then becomes the application itself. This will shorten the time from design to development and bridge the different phases of software lifecycle to make it a continuous process. The "Connected Tools Team" in Microsoft is responsible for the new modeling tool that will make this process a reality.

Oslo includes:

--> Future release of .NET Framework 4. So we can expect that .NET framework 4 will have further enhancements to the WCF Workflow Foundation Technologies.

--> Biztalk Server family will evolve for enabling a highly scalable SOA and BPM solutions. The Biztalk Server is expected to be built on top of WCF and WF and will also have the capabilities to develop, deploy and manage composite applications.

--> We will also see the release of Biztalk Services that will allow the development of cross organizational composite applications.

--> We will see a wide variety of tools that allows the dream of model driven development to turn into reality. So this is basically the extension of Visual Studio Team System capabilities which will be the unified environment for all class of experts bridging each phase's output with input to next phase.

--> Better repository system for metadata.