Posts Tagged ‘Quadrant’

What the community (me included) has hoped and feared at the same time and what many foresaw, happened: Microsoft discontinued it’s investment in SQL Modeling Services (aka “Oslo” Repository) as well as “Quadrant”, as Don Box states on the Model Citizen Blog.

One important aspect of that focus is that we will not bring “Oslo” repository to market.

The Winners on the data-side of things are OData and the Entity Framework including EDM.

Given the increasing adoption of both OData and EDM, we have decided to focus our investments in those technologies to make our modeling vision a reality.

But Don also states, that Micrsosoft will further invest in the modeling language codenamed “M”, which also was a former part of Oslo, but clearly didn’t fit into the “SQL” rebranding right from the beginning.

While we used “M” to build the “Oslo” repository and “Quadrant,” there has been significant interest both inside and outside of Microsoft in using “M” for other applications. We are continuing our investment in this technology and will share our plans for productization once they are concrete.

I think, all together this is good news. Both the Repository and Quadrant were very far away from what I consider useful.

Hopefully the “M” team moves over to DevDiv into the ScottGu-Area. Hopefully it then returns to collaborative language design, now that the internal goals are removed.  Hopefully, Microsoft also now listens’ to the modeling community when designing the final language. And hopefully they bring great Visual Studio Support for textual DSLs.

Hey Microsoft, what about open sourcing “M”? This would be a huge step forward, after this very huge step backwards!

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Back in October 2008 Microsoft announced “Oslo” as a new and world-changing modeling platform. While it always consisted of a language, an editor and a repository the community seemed to be mostly interested in the language “M” and it’s grammar features for creating new domain specific languages.

The feedback could be summarized to:

Great! We love model-driven. We love DSLs. But why the heck SQL?

After that they got engaged with that community. Chris hosted the DSL Dev Con. And Doug released “M” under the Open Specification Promise and founded the “M” Specification Community. Mathew Wilson implemented M in JavaScript. Hugo Brunelier elaborated on the possibilities of bridging it with Eclipse Modeling.

Many wrote, spoke and blogged about it. The fellow hope was, that Microsoft could bring model-driven development to a broader audience and by that increase both productivity and quality in software development.

For that community the renaming of “Oslo” to SQL Server Modeling was a slap in the face. Many stated that they were disappointed by Microsoft’s decisions.

Let’s look into the reasoning and the real consequences of that rename.

Even though I think it was a wise decision business-wise both the timing and the messaging was really bad.

The Repository and “Quadrant” were closely tied to SQL right from the beginnings of “Oslo”. The schema, constraints and functions part of “M” had and mostly still has only one implementation: also SQL.

But the languages part of “M” also referenced to as “MGrammar” had nothing to do with SQL at all and it still doesn’t have much to do with it today either.

“M” should have been split out from “Oslo” before the rename and everybody would have been happy.

So where is this going now?

“M” and “Quadrant” today are still code names. The only thing that has a final name is the repository part of “Oslo” which is now named SQL Server Modeling Services. And I think we agree that that is a OK name.

Most probably “M” will not become SQL Server Modeling M and neither will “Quadrant” be named SQL Server Modeling Quadrant.

I think the final “M” will be as much SQL as Entity Framework and OData are SQL today. All those are developed within the same group and I expect it to merge anyway.

“Quadrant” will probably replace the part in SQL Server Management Studio that enables browsing and editing of SQL data – which is horrible today anyway. It also has the potential of replacing Access as a platform for Information Workers.

And maybe some day we’ll see ideas from “Quadrant” in Excel.

Future of DSL Development with Microsoft Tools

Visual: There was a hope, that “Quadrant” could be a better DSL Toolkit. Those teams didn’t talk to each other, but now they do. I think MS gave up on visual DSLs with “Quadrant”. Instead we’ll see the DSL Toolkit getting more attention. In some Demos at PDC we saw diagrams in Visual Studio working together with SQL Server Modeling. That were already DSL Tools operating on “M” models.

Textual: “M” is at maximum a third of the “Oslo” vision. And the languages part again is only a subset of “M”. Maybe that helps seeing the priorities in the big context.

But still the commitment is alive. The November CTP has some great new features. For example more powerful “M” projections for grammar rules or basic debugging support.  Probably some day this will merge with the DSL Tools and we’ll have both graphical and textual DSLs support right within Visual Studio. I think and hope that the connection to SQL will not be very strong in the future.

Model-driven Development

As often when Microsoft starts (mis)using existing terms they or at least many of their employees just don’t get it. At least not in the first place.

An application that uses “M” to define the M in MVC is not automatically model-driven. It’s just a normal application that operates on data as most applications do. If you want to argue like that, then every C# file and all SQL table rows are models.

In my perception model-driven is, when models become part of the implementation. The Workflow Foundation is a good example for what model-driven means. You model something that is the source of truth for your application – instead of C# code.

If tools help building things like the workflow foundation based on either visual or textual DSLs, using interpreters or code generation, then they truly support the vision of model-driven software development.

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I finally found some time to migrate two of my pet projects from the “Oslo” May CTP to the new SQL Server Modeling November 2009 CTP. I didn’t publish the sources so far, but I will soon.

Work Breakdown Structure

The first application that I want to migrate is a so-called work-breakdown-sheet (WBS). Originally it was a Excel sheet containing tasks and task estimates. Some smart calculations apply a set of statistics to give a forecast that is as close as possible to the real effort required.

The technologies I wanted to try out with that were mostly “Quadrant” and the “Repository”, now SQL Server Modeling Services. Also I wanted to test the team on their ambitious goal to make something that gets close to the experience of Access in ease of use.

The project contains of a set of “M”-based models and functions as well as some basic “Quadrant” customization. No plain old C# code needed, so far.

The basic domain model expressed in M (May CTP):

type Project {
    Name : Text;

type Story {
    Name : Text;
    Project : Project;

type TaskGroup {
    Name : Text;
    Story : Story;

type Task {
    Description : Text;
    Comment : Text?;
    Group : TaskGroup;

type Estimate {
    BestCase : Double;
    AverageCase : Double;
    WorstCase : Double;
} where value.BestCase < value.AverageCase
     && value.AverageCase < value.WorstCase; 

I’ll write an introduction to the project soon. But now, I'll just log the changes I had to make in order to be able to get it running on the new CTP.

The Project File

In May, both Visual Studio and Intellipad used a *.mproj-File to collect multiple models in a project. In November this is embedded in a *.csproj-File. The easiest thing was to create a new “Oslo Library” in VS 2010 and just add the files that previously were linked in Wbs.mproj.s

Now I got the project both in Visual Studio 2010 and in Intellipad:



Now lets build.

Syntax Changes

Lets walk through the errors I get, and how the syntax has to be changed to fix them.

  • First surprise. Intellipad builds the project without complaining. Well this message still leaves me unconfortable: Skipping target "MCompileCore" because all output files are up-to-date with respect to the input files.

So lets switch over to VS. The Messages I get are:

  • Error: Expected a ';' to finish the extent declaration.
  • Error: Expected a ';' to finish the computed value declaration or a '{' to start its body.
  • Warning: The 'item' expression is being deprecated. Please replace with an appropriate 'value' expression.

Those were easy to fix. Although the error messages look more explaining then they are.

Actually both first errors had to do with the new collection syntax. This goes for extent declarations as well as functions. This, for example:

TaskEstimates() :  PersonalTaskEstimate* {
    from e in RawTaskEstimates
    select MixEstimates(CalculateEstimate(e), e)

Needs to be changed to:

TaskEstimates() :  {PersonalTaskEstimate*} {
    from e in RawTaskEstimates
    select MixEstimates(CalculateEstimate(e), e)

The warning about the deprecated item keyword in:

RawStories : (Story & HasFolderAndAutoId)*
        where item.Project in RawProjects;

is solved by using value plus making sure, that the constraint goes inside the collection.

RawStories : {((Story & HasFolderAndAutoId) 
    where value.Project in RawProjects)*};

After having fixed those I get a next set of errors:

  • The left-hand side 'value.BestCase' of 'in' must  be compatible with the collection element type 'LifelikeEstimateNumber'.

This seems to be a implicit change enforced by the new type checker in the current CTP. This is the “invalid” code:

type LifelikeEstimateNumber : Double where value < 24
    || value in SomeFibonacciNumbers;
type SomeFibonacciNumbers : {55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610};

The problem here is, that the compiler doesn’t infer that SomeFibonacciNumbers actually is a collection of Doubles. So we have to tell her.

There are different ways to do so. We can either ascribe the first value in the collection to a Double by writing:

{55: Double, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610}

or we could ascribe the whole collection to a collection of Doubles

{55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610} : {Double*}

or we can mix it with a collection of Doubles:

{55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610} & {Double*}

I don’t really know, what the differences will be. I’ll just go for the last one, because it looks so nice :-)

Project References

The next problem is, that my references to models from the “Repository” and “Quadrant” can’t be found. Sure, I didn’t copy the references from the mproj-file, either. As described here, you now have to reference dll files instead of the mx-files that where needed in May.

In my case, I needed a reference to “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Oslo\1.0\bin\Repository.dll” in order to support the SQL Server Modeling Services type HasFolderAndAutoId.

Now all the “M” code seems to be ok. The only thing is, that some concepts do not compile to SQL.

For this code:

type LifelikeEstimateNumber : Double where value < 24
    || value in SomeFibonacciNumbers;
type SomeFibonacciNumbers : {55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610} & {Double*};

type TaskEstimate : (Estimate & {
    Task : Task;
}) where value.BestCase in LifelikeEstimateNumber
    && value.AverageCase in LifelikeEstimateNumber
    && value.WorstCase in LifelikeEstimateNumber;

i get the following error for each occurence in the last three constraints:

  • Not yet implemented: There is no SQL expression generator to handle the expression 'TypeRef: Reference, resolve to get the target'.

It seems, that the constraint expressions can’t handle types completely. I’ll just refactor that to an inline expression plus an extent for the allowed high estimates:

AllowedHighTaskEstimates : {Double*} {
    55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610};

type TaskEstimate : (Estimate & {
    Task : Task;
}) where 
    (value.BestCase < 24 
        && value.BestCase in AllowedHighTaskEstimates)
    && (value.AverageCase < 24 
        && value.AverageCase in AllowedHighTaskEstimates)
    && (value.WorstCase < 24 
        && value.WorstCase in AllowedHighTaskEstimates);

Build succeeded!

Well I cheated a little bit, because I removed the models that drive the quadrant customization. But since those have changed completely anyway, I’ll just rebuild the requirements.


For the May CTP I had a bunch of batch files to manage the build and deploy process. This was also, because I had to install a external SQL function before deploying my module. Lets see how this works with the deployment integration in Visual Studio 2010.

I configured the connection string in the M Deploy settings to a local database called ‘WbsTestRepository’. But trying to deploy the solution fails with a couple of errors. It seems, that the repository is not deployed automatically, allthough I added a project reference.

Repository Issues

In Wbs I want to use the Repository (now SQL Server Modelling Services) Rolders as well as the catalog which stores data about my models.

You still need to install the “Repository” on your database using the command line. This should be necessary only once, though.

The commands I ran were (described here):

'create a clean db
mx create /d:WbsTestRepository /s:.\SQLExpress /force
'install the rep
mx install Repository.mx /database:WbsTestRepository /server:.\SQLExpress

But now redeploying in VS yields another expected error:

  • error M6040: Sql Exception: Cannot find either column "itemis.Wbs" or the user-defined function or aggregate "itemis.Wbs.Power", or the name is ambiguous.

Wbs needs the power-function to compute some values. Since M doesn’t know about it, and neither can express it natively, I had to model an so called extern:

extern Power(Expression : Double, Power : Integer32) : Double;

This just makes a concept available to M that has to be implemented in SQL. Since we want to ensure this in the installation, we have to compile it along with the M files. This is done by adding a SQL file containing the “create function [itemis.Wbs].[Power] …” script and set the compile action to “MPreSql”.

As I almost expected, redeploying the model doesn’t work. I’ll post a workaround for that soon.

  • error M6040: Sql Exception: The module 'itemis.Wbs' is already present in the database.

But for now we just put the two lines in a batch file to recreate a fresh repository before each deploy.

The next problem I run into is:

  • Sql Exception: Target folder must be specified.

There are two ways to add a target folder to your initial values. The documented one suggests adding your Folder to the FoldersTable and then specifying that value in every single instance. The much cleaner and simpler is, too set the target folder globally for the whole project.

Since there is no Visual Studio support for that, you have to add this property to the csproj-File manually:


You will also have to create the folder along with the repository every time you deploy, using the following command:

mx createFolder "Repository/Wbs" /database:WbsTestRepository /server:.\SQLExpress

The next thing is some complaints about my constraints on TaskEstimate. Since I have no time left, and those constraints should be weak, instead of hard CHECK constraints anyway, I’ll just comment them "away” for now.

Deployed successfully.

Wonderful. Now lets go to “Quadrant” and see, how we can make use of the model with it’s sample data.



It were not really the syntax changes that made trouble, but rather the integration with Visual Studio. I had a couple of simple customizations for Quadrant, but I’ll rewrite them soon.

The only comment I have to make so far, is, that it is totally unacceptable to have a development cycle that takes more than 5 seconds from M over compile, deploy and look at the changes in Quadrant. Now it takes more than 30 seconds.

Future Plans

I’ll probably elaborate more on WBS next week. I’ll also migrate my DSL pet project called “Web Layout DSL” and integrate it with a MVC Client Application over WBS.

So stay tuned.

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It has been more quiet around “Oslo” the last month. Maybe just about everybody is on vacations. Or people feel that everything will change with the PDC in November and are afraid of publishing nonsense.

Nonetheless, I felt it’s time for an update on what I think, heard and read about “Oslo”.

I divided my post in two sections:

  • Information about “Oslo”
  • What I think about “Oslo” today

have fun!

Some Information about “Oslo”

For those who don’t know, “Oslo” is the current codename for Microsoft’s forthcoming modeling platform, which is available as CTP Download since back in October 2008.

If you want to read more about what Oslo is about, I recommend those Resources:

Well, since then Microsoft has released two more CTP releases (January and May), written a lot of documentation and posted quite some videos and samples. If you ask me, it’s yet too much for such a young and undone technology. Oslo’s modeling language “M” has and The "Oslo" Modeling Language Specification, which yet has been implemented in JavaScript by Mathew Wilson (jsmeta).

The community did also care a lot, and there are even companies investing in tools around “Oslo”. Telrik published two projects on their Labs Site. A tool for comparing and migrating M as well as LINQ to M. There are even trainings offered by Agilitrain and PluralSight.

Some recommended links:

What I think about Oslo today
(May CTP + Announcements)

First of all I want to say, that I’m happy Microsoft released Oslo in such an early state. I think they know the pros and cons of such an open process. The community can help with forming the product, and companies can start to invest early in what they think might be valuable for the future. But It also means more friction for any changes that are made.

I have used M for defining schemas and languages and also played around with the Repository and Quadrant. As Microsoft also states, it’s early Alpha. I stumbled over many bugs which I still plan to report and blog about. But that is OK, no one ever said it was production ready.


So far I like the schema part of M, also called MSchema. It has a very concise (compared to XSD) c-style syntax and covers a lot of what I want to express when modeling information structures. The M-graph (for values) syntax is also OK, while I don’t like the MGraph API. M-constraints let you restrict your types in a nice way. What I don’t like here, is the missing support for weak constraints. Named M-queries (similar to LINQ syntax), are a nice way to query M structures.

M-grammar is useful for DSLs. I think it could be more opinionated. I feel MS is striving for an expressiveness that let you describe all computer languages in the world using MGrammar. This makes it more complex than necessary for covering DSLs. At the same time it doesn’t support nesting of languages, which would be especially useful for DSLs, because you often need to talk to external models (e.g. pinvoke). The support for editor customizing (crucial language workbench feature) as it is today is not sufficient and too hard to configure.

Another feature I miss here is referencing between nodes and even across files (linking + scoping). For now all references are just values (ids), and the output of a DSL program will be a tree model, no graphs!

The Repository

The Repository basically offers some features on-top of SQL server as are row-level security, hierarchies, localization, versioning, additional constraints. All those features are plain SQL “libraries” in conjunction with M-models which also are compiled down to SQL. I don’t yet know what to think about the Repository.

Naming / Packaging

In the last couple of weeks the Oslo team published two posts that confirmed some of my speculations.

Let’s start with Doug’s Post: On “Oslo” at Douglas Purdy

In this post he basically makes two statements:

The only thing that I feel bad about is that we kept the “Oslo” name around so long (you will see that change at the next PDC), which has continued to be a confusing point for customers (“I thought Oslo was your new SOA platform”).

Douglas Purdy

I agree. It was confusing. Although people slowly start to accept “Oslo” as for “Modeling”.

Oslo and EF / Data Programmability

With this in mind, we made a decision to merge the Data Programmability team (EDM, EF, Astoria, XML, ADO.NET, and tools/designers) and the “Oslo” team (“Quadrant”, Repository, “M”) together.

Douglas Purdy

I don’t yet know what to think about this. “Oslo” is not and should not evolve to an O/R-Mapper. M’s type system is structural and doesn’t map well to strongly typed objects as used by EF. I can see this choice limiting the modeling capabilities of Oslo. But I guess we have to wait and see.

Quadrant. A graphical Editor?

The other post, confirming my fears about Quadrant was Model Citizen : What’s So Compelling about "Quadrant" Anyway?.

Back in November last year, when I wrote a sum-up post about “Oslo” I concluded Quadrant:

Yes. Quadrant lets you interact with models graphically. It’s highly generic, customizable and it looks great.

Lars Corneliussen, November 2008, What "Oslo" is and is not

I concluded this from the official statement about Oslo plus some videos and screenshots I had seen.

A tool that helps people define and interact with models in a rich and visual manner

Doulas Purdy, September 2008, What is Oslo?

But here is the smackdown:

Microsoft code name "Quadrant" is a ‘tool for viewing and editing SQL data,’ but… so what?

Michael Murray, July 2009, What’s So Compelling about "Quadrant" Anyway?

As I understand today, and as it shows up in the May CTP, it is not a graphical editor or graphical editing toolkit but rather a light WPF-version of Microsoft Office Access that understands Oslo Modeling concepts and relationships and builds up default editors in a generic manner. This is still useful (if it is free), but not far as useful as what I hoped Quadrant to be.

Please, Microsoft, make Quadrant a graphical editing toolkit with good support for configurable diagramming and any custom WPF editors. It should also have the plug-in model VS2010 offers for sharing any extensions.

The “Oslo” Story

Microsoft tries to sell “Oslo” as if it was all one story. It’s a lie.

There is tons of impedance mismatches that restrict you in many ways.

Modeling Structure

  • M in general uses structural typing (duck typing, supports mix-ins) and supports real graphs (including references)
  • MGrammar ASTs are hierarchal (tree structure) and for now only supporting nodes and strings.
  • Databases store flat relational data,
  • and objects in the .NET world are typed nominally (no multiple inheritance).

DSLs + Repository

There is no story for “DSLs and the repository”, and there is not yet a good story for any runtime support off the repository or DSL files. It’s basically what you had before. You can either access the database via ADO.NET or an O/R-Mapper or you run directly off the parsed MGraph-AST representing your DSL-Script, which feels like visiting xml documents. M has a nice LINQ-ish query language, but that doesn’t work in memory against a graph.


M has good support for complex data structures. As said there is no support for in-memory queries. But even the database implementation is limited by it’s relational backend. Even though queries can consult complex properties for sorting or filtering, it can only return rows with a list of scalar fields.


Most constraints on types are only implemented in the SQL-Mapping. Also here there is no in-memory implementation that would validate your model against a schema. Basically the M-compiler generates a database schema including checks that would not let you insert invalid data into the database.

Data and schema evolution

There is this dream about capturing requirements in quite fuzzy ways and then piece for piece add details to them – until they have reached some formal state that might be executable. This sounds nice in theory, but there is no chance to implement this stuff. M is very easy to change, and it is easy to add constraints and refactor schema structures. But there is no story around how to let your data evolve together with your schemas using the Repository. So, besides nice theories, Oslo doesn’t help here.

More to come

There will be new content and Chris Sells also announced a fresh CTP around this years PDC in November.

So far, only one session has been scheduled, but watch this list for more sessions to come: Microsoft PDC09 – Modeling Sessions

Hope to see you in LA in November!

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Dennis posted some notes while attending some of the PDC “Oslo” sessions.

Absolute worth reading:

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See also: Open Letter to Douglas Purdy: Eclipse, Oslo, and how to invent the future together

The PDC is over, and most contents including the Oslo SDK (without Quadrant) and all PDC Session Videos on channel9. Thanks! But where are we now? If you want a “brief” overview, you should at least have a look at A Lap around “Oslo”.

Jump to “What Oslo definitely is!”

Oslo Resources

What Oslo is not!

I’ll start with correcting some of my former assumptions in DSL Tools, T4, the Software Factories and “Facts” Rumors about Oslo.

Built upon DSL Tools?

No, Oslo (M and Quadrant) is not built upon DSL Tools, T4 and the UML Tooling in Visual Studio 2010. It’s totally apart. The DSL Tools are the here and now, while Oslo still is “Pre-Pre-Pre-Alpha” (Douglas Purdy).

Douglas promised that his team is working tight with the VSTX team in order to bring this together. He mentioned the possibility of using M as the backing metamodel format for the DSL Toolkit. Graphically edited DSLs could then be converted, described in MSchema and stored into the Oslo Repository or MGraph files. Update (12.Nov): Later in his talk “a lap around Oslo” Doug also said his the team is discussing to schematize the DSL Toolkit, and let the graphical DSLs live within Oslo.

A move towards UML/OMG?

No. I don’t think so. Microsoft joined the OMG and they support some UML Diagrams in Visual Studio 2010. But so far this has not to do much with Oslo.

Update (12.Nov): Someone asked about how Oslo relates to XMI and UML. Doug’ promised that they will model the UML-Domain and let the UML Designers in Visual Studio live within Oslo.

Talking of Model-driven Architecture (MDA) it seems that Microsoft avoids this abbreviation. They rather talk about Model-driven Development and Model-driven Applications – I’ll write more on this in a separate post.

A Application/Process Server?

Dublin is announced to be Model-driven, but it is not a part of “Oslo”, but rather related to Windows Azure and IIS. The plan is to host cloud-enabled services both locally on Dublin and in the cloud on Windows Azure with maximal control and minimal effort for deployment and configuration.

Read Workflows, Services, and Models by David Chappell to see how Dublin relates to Oslo.

A new Version of WF and WCF?

WCF and WF were model-driven right from the beginning, but in the next versions the source for the models that drive Workflows and Services might come from Oslo.

MService is a textual DSL that combines service configuration, implementation and workflow definition into one resource.

What Oslo definitely is

A new Modeling Language Family

Yes, it’s definitely about a new modeling language family “M”, consisting of three core languages. These languages do all have similar Syntax and a shared type system.

  • MSchema
    Defines schemas for data instances. Quite comparable to XSD and DTD.
  • MGraph
    JSON-like format for capturing concrete data instances.
  • MGrammar
    Defines grammars for textual DSLs. Could also be looked at as a Unicode-to-MGraph-tranformation language.

There are other languages planned for some horizontal domains as Database, Services and Web. But here you can even put some more “Pre”s before the “Alpha”.

A Language Workbench for textual DSLs!

Well, I’ll just copy Martin on that.

At some point I really need to rethink what I consider the defining elements of a Language Workbench to be. For the moment let’s just say that Xtext and Oslo feel like Language Workbenches and until I revisit the definition I’ll treat them as such.

Martin Fowler Bliki: Oslo

A new Storage Repository!?

Oslo Repository is a tool and a framework that allows storing models into SQL Server.  I’m still quite torn on this idea.

  • Design-time story: Many tool vendors tried backing repositories supporting simultaneous changes. But sharing them in files is just easier. If it was on the web – ok, then we had to talk about security and stuff – But as it is tied to SQL Server 2008, it looses a lot of my attention.
  • Runtime story: Having models in a database at runtime at least seams more natural in my opinion. What then to store there is another thing to figure out. Is it meant to store operational data or configurations and application definitions? That’s what is left to the customer to decide.

The repository compiler (mx.exe) generates T-SQL code out of your models, while it supports two modes:

  • Plain T-SQL: Mapps your explicit MSchema definitions or implicitely “guessed” schemas from MGraph data to data tables.
  • Repository SQL: A Repository is a database pre-populated with tons of schemas describing the “Microsoft IT world”. It also supports some core services, as are:
    • Deployment: Import and Export from and to M + Webservice Deployment to Dublin
    • Security: Tables hidden behind views, claims-based security
    • Catalog: Keeps the semantics you have in your MSchema as not everything maps directly to T-SQL.
    • Versioning: Sadly not instance data versioning. But you got full SQL Server 2008 capabilities including SSIS, Change Tracking, Replication, … + Due to the separation of views and tables you can support backward-compatible schema evolution.

Oslo does not come with a own data-access technology stack. It rather gives you a generator for EF-Models.

A Graphical Modeling Toolkit!

Yes. Quadrant lets you interact with models graphically. It’s highly generic, customizable and it looks great.

But as I’ve understand, Quadrant only works on models stored in the Repository, hence SQL Server. Really interested to see how this works together with your textual definitions you might rather store in Version Control.

Release Dates, Packaging and Pricing

From Microsoft “Oslo” Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the timeline for shipping “Oslo”?

A:  We are not disclosing the release schedule at this time. We are committed to releasing regular Community Technology Previews (CTPs) after PDC and will engage with the developer community on an on-going basis. The Oslo Development Center (http://msdn.microsoft.com/oslo) will also be the place to learn about the latest Oslo-related downloads.

Q: Is “Oslo” shipping with the rest of the Visual Studio 2010 product line?

A: We are not currently disclosing schedules or packaging.

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Oslo CTP available!

The Oslo SDK is available for download: Oslo Developer Center

Microsoft also did a good job writing a lot of examples, documentation and tutorials about Oslo, M and MGrammar and the Oslo Repository.

M vs. MGrammar

MGrammar looks quite interesting. As I can see, M is defined using MGrammar while MGrammar itself is self-describing.

M just seems to be a general-purpose modeling DSL. This is where “building textual DSLs” comes in. When you want to define a model you can either define it with M, or create an own more specific DSL using MGrammar. MGrammar will then generate a parser and hopefully a good intellisense-enabled editor.


I’m really to tired to run all of the samples and tutorials and come up with good conclusions. But I got some screenshots :-)

That’s what “M” looks like. Unfortunately I could not find any examples or screenshots about Quadrant, which should show the same data just graphically.



More than 300 built-in models.



The Intellipad helps writing Models with M or defining textual DSLs with MGrammar.



A part of MGrammar defined in MGrammar



A part of M defined in MGrammar



A textual DSL built with MGrammar



An instance of this DSL



More tomorrow!

It’s 01:42 am here in Germany, and I just want to sleep now :-)

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