Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Modeling Strategy in VSTS

VSTS's vision is to change the way developers perceive the value of modeling. To shift their perception that modeling is a marginally useful activity that precedes real development, to recognition that modeling is an important mainstream development task and not an activity primarily focused on documentation. This shifting has the following benefits:
  • Developers write less conventional code since more powerful application abstractions can be employed. Model-driven development is thus inherently more productive and agile.
  • Others involved in development, from business analysts, architects, designers to network staff, and system management specialists, will perceive modeling as adding value to the tasks for which they are responsible.
  • Communication between people can be optimized, and traceability enabled across the life cycle in any direction.

Microsoft adopts an approach to model-driven development based on the following ideas:

  • A model should be a first-class artifact in a project—not just a piece of documentation waiting to become outdated.
  • A model represents a set of abstractions that support a developer in a well-defined aspect of development.
  • Since models can abstract and aggregate information from a number of artifacts, they can more readily support consistency checks and other forms of analysis.
  • Models can be implemented by a process similar to compilation, where the code, configuration files, and other implementation artifacts generated by the compiler are never edited by hand.

Microsoft calls modeling languages defined in these ways Domain Specific Languages or DSLs.

So a domain-specific language (DSL) is a language designed to be useful for a specific task in a fixed problem domain, in contrast to a general-purpose language.

Adpoted from Visual Studio 2005 Team System Modeling Strategy and FAQ.


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