Whatever Microsoft Corp and Platinum Technology Inc are cooking up beyond their existing interface work – and the suggestion that’s been doing the rounds is that Redmond may pick up some of Platinum’s repository technology (CI No 3,199) – Microsoft insists that its existing Repository product is not in jeopardy. Indeed it’s currently developing new interfaces it claims will ultimately enable users to exchange data and models between different vertical industry and horizontal applications that take advantage of these interfaces. Invisible to end users, when these so-called information models are supported by ISVs it will enable information to be exchanged for example between different insurance industry applications. Platinum and other application development tools companies such as Rational, Popkin, Select Software, LogicWorks and Sterling Software’s Texas Instruments Software division – which co-developed the design upon which the Microsoft Repository built – are working with Microsoft on the APIs. Version 1.0 of the Microsoft Repository shipped in March on top of the company’s Jet (Access) database for free with Visual Basic 5 Pro and Enterprise and Visual Studio Pro and Enterprise. That’s why Microsoft can claim to have shipped 500,000 copies of Repository – making it the most widely distributed repository ever – some half way towards it target of having a million installs by year-end. It’s not known how many are actively used. 1.0’s really a workgroup-class solution, though Microsoft claims that where customers have moved 1.0 on to an SQL Server database the repository can support 1,000 simultaneous users 1.0 does not include versioning support or configuration management; although Microsoft does offer Visual SourceSafe for that purpose. Version 2.0’s slated to include both in 1998. We don’t know whether SQL Server will be swapped into version 3.0 or some other release, which would give Microsoft an enterprise solution. Sterling/TI is now reselling the Repository having abandoned its own implementation of the design and is reportedly working on a new repository being touted to arrive in 2000. Rational also has a licence to resell the Repository but hasn’t begun to do so yet. Microsoft’s best pleased with the Repository’s support for the Unified Modeling Language specification which has been endorsed by most of companies which have an interest in repository technologies and is based upon work done by Rational Software Inc. In fact IBM was the last to come to the UML table having been persuaded over some last minute corridor conversations. It means that application models can be shared between different tools packages where previously files were saved into proprietary formats, Microsoft says. Neither Microsoft nor Platinum are giving up any details of work they may be doing going forward.
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