While Model Driven Software Development (MDSD) was a core objective for Microsoft for many years, the decision to not use the OMG standards in the modeling tools (with exception of Visio) for developers was always a topic for heated discussion. Like in all discussions there were pros and cons at the time for that decision and very often it was more a discussion driven by "religion" than by facts. Nevertheless, UML is a standard and with the evolution from UML1.0 to UML2.x there were many improvements that allow the development of targeted Domain Specific Models (DSMs) based on the OMG defined standard. Therefore, it is great to see that Microsoft announced today the plan to join the OMG with the goal to bring modeling main stream. It is a shift in thought and strategy, but I think it is a natural evolution and a victory of common sense to base the model driven software development strategy on an existing standard, as well as to working with the OMG to further evolve the standard.

Here an excerpt of the official press release:

Senior Vice President Bob Muglia shares perspective on future of model-driven development and announces Microsoft’s participation in OMG.

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 10, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today outlined its approach for taking modeling into mainstream industry use and announced its membership in the standards body Object Management Group™ (OMG™). Modeling is a core focus of Microsoft’s Dynamic IT strategy, the company’s long-term approach to provide customers with technology, services and best practices to enable IT and development organizations to be more strategic to the business.

To make model-driven development a reality, Microsoft is focused on providing a model-driven platform and visual modeling tools that make it easy for all “mainstream” users, including information workers, developers, database architects, software architects, business analysts and IT professionals, to collaborate throughout the application development life cycle. By putting model-driven innovation directly into the Microsoft.NET platform, organizations will gain visibility and control over applications from end to end, ensuring that they are building systems based on the right requirements, simplifying iterative development and re-use, and resolving potential issues at a high level before they start committing resources.

“We’re building modeling in as a core part of the platform,” said Bob Muglia, senior vice president, Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. “This enables IT pros to specify their business needs and build applications that work directly from those specifications. It also brings together the different stages of the IT life cycle — connecting business analysts, who specify requirements, with system architects, who design the solution, with developers, who build the applications, and with operations experts, who deploy and maintain the applications. Ultimately, this means IT pros can innovate and respond faster to the needs of their business.”

“Microsoft has always been one of the driving forces in the development industry, helping to make innovation possible but also simplifying many of the most challenging aspects of the application development process,” said Dr. Richard Mark Soley, CEO at OMG. “In less than 10 years, OMG’s UML, a cornerstone of the Model Driven Architecture initiative, has been adopted by the majority of development organizations, making OMG the seminal modeling organization and supporting a broad array of vertical market standards efforts in healthcare, finance, manufacturing, government and other areas. Microsoft’s broad expertise and impact will make its membership in OMG beneficial to everyone involved.”

To read the full press release, click here.