What "Oslo" is and is not (November 2008)

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.

Microsoft PDC 2008 – Sessions on Oslo (M+Quadrant), .NET/WF/WCF 4.0 and Dublin

Update: Post-PDC: Again, what is “Oslo”? M, MGrammar, Quadrant, Repository, textual DSLs, DSL Tools, UML-Modeling (November 2008)

I just “scanned” the PDC Session Timeline and the Sessions I would have liked to attend if I were in LA.

As soon as I find resources like videos or blog entries regarding these sessions, I’ll add the links below each session.

Monday, October 27, 2008 (updated video links)

Keynote – Cloud Computing Takes Center Stage
08:30 AM PST (LA) / 16:30 CET (Berlin) – Video

TL02 Under the Hood: Advances in the .NET Type System
Misha Shneerson, Andrew Whitechapel
11:00 AM PST / 19:00 CET

Enhancements to the type system in the next version of .NET Framework allow for loose type-coupling of components comprising your application. This talk is an in-depth examination of the changes in the Common Language Runtime and managed languages. See how these changes help to simplify versioning and deployment of components targeting either COM based and/or fully managed applications. For Office developers, learn how to eliminate the need to redistribute primary interop assemblies.

TL40 “Dublin” and .NET Services: Extending On-Premises Applications to the Cloud
Jacob Avital, 12:45 PM / 20:45 CET

Would you like to extend your existing SharePoint and .NET applications both on-premises and to the cloud in a non-intrusive way? This session will show you real-world examples of how to harness .NET Services workflow, access control and service bus to enhance business processes and add new capabilities to your application. We will demonstrate the use of “Dublin” Windows Application Server technologies to build extended application functionality. Lastly, you will see how workflow can be used to integrate across multiple organizations and the cloud. For ISVs, this session will provide a blueprint for how to sell more products to your installed base without requiring them to upgrade.

PC20 ASP.NET 4.0 Roadmap
Scott Hunter, 1:45 PM / 21:45 CET

Take a walk through the 4.0 landscape from ASP.NET and learn how you can get involved in shaping ASP.NET future. This talk focuses on the next release of ASP.NET including web forms and MVC. Do you love web forms? See how you can taking control of your control IDs, display images using the new DynamicImage control, learn about better ViewState managment in GridView and ListView, and get more control over the CSS markup of ASP.NET server controls. See how Dynamic Data makes building you data-driven apps easy. If you’re interested in AJAX, we show you further advancements in client rendering and binding. If you’re considering MVC, we look at the feature set and understand how to create applications with this technology.

PC21 ASP.NET MVC: A New Framework for Building Web Applications
Phil Haack, 3:30 PM / 23:30 CET

Learn how the new ASP.NET MVC framework differs from the current ASP.NET Web Forms framework. Learn to take advantage of ASP.NET MVC to build loosely coupled, highly testable, agile applications. See how ASP.NET MVC provides you with fine-grained control over HTML and JavaScript.

TL17 WF 4.0: A First Look
Kenny Wolf, 5:15 PM / Oct 28th, 1:15 CET

Programs coordinate work. The code for coordination and state management often obscures a program’s purpose. Learn how programming with Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) 4.0 provides clarity of intent while preserving the functional richness of the .NET framework. See how easy it is to build workflows with the new Visual Studio workflow designer. Learn about text-based authoring options for WF. Hear how WF integrates well with other Microsoft technologies (WCF, WPF, ASP.NET). If you’ve looked at WF before, come and see the changes to data flow, composition, and new control flow styles. Significant improvements to usability, composability, and performance make Workflow a great fit for a broad range of solutions on both the client and the server.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 (updated video links)

Keynote – Building the Next Generation of User Experiences
08:30 AM / 16:30 MET – Video

TL38 WCF: Zen of Performance and Scale
Nicholas Allen, 12:45 PM / 20:45 CET

Join us for an interactive lunch discussion about different kinds of performance and scale requirements that are a crucial part of any distributed systems development life cycle. Learn the principles of Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) throughput and responsiveness optimization. Hear about WCF scalability improvements in the next version of the Microsoft .NET Framework.

TL23 A Lap around “Oslo”
Douglas Purdy, Vijaye Raji, 1:45 PM / 21:45 CET

“Oslo” is the family of new technologies that enable data-driven development and execution of services and applications. Come and learn how to capture all aspects of an application schematized in the “Oslo” repository and use “Oslo” directly to drive the execution of deployed applications.

TL27 “Oslo”: The Language
Don Box, David Langworthy, 3:30 PM / 23:30 CET 

The “Oslo” language, at the heart of the Oslo modeling platform, allows developers to quickly and efficiently express domain models that power declarative systems, such as Windows Workflow Foundation and “Dublin.” In this session, we’ll get you started writing models for your own domains by introducing you to key features of the language, including its type system, instance construction, and query. You’ll learn to author content for the Oslo repository and understand how to programmatically construct and process the content to target your own specific runtime environment.

TL20 Entity Framework Futures
Tim Mallalieu , 5:15 PM / Oct 29th, 1:15 CET

The next version of the Entity Framework adds scenarios in the areas of model driven development, domain driven development, simplicity, and integration. See a preview of production and prototype code for the next version of the Entity Framework as well as a candid discussion with members of the development team.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 (updated video links)

Keynote – From the Lab
08:30 AM / 16:30 CET – Video

TL06 WCF 4.0: Building WCF Services with WF in Microsoft .NET 4.0
Ed Pinto, 10:30 AM / 18:30 CET

Eliminate the tradeoff between ease of service authoring and performant, scalable services. Hear about significant enhancements in Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) 4.0 and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) 4.0 to deal with the ever increasing complexity of communication. Learn how to use WCF to correlate messages to service instances using transport, context, and application payloads. See how the new WF messaging activities enable the modeling of rich protocols. Learn how WCF provides a default host for workflows exposing features such as distributed compensation and discovery. See how service definition in XAML completes the union of WF and WCF with a unified authoring experience that simplifies configuration and is fully integrated with IIS activation and deployment.

TL61 Panel: The Future of Unit Testing
Euan Garden, Jim Newkirk, Peter Provost, Nikolai Tillmann
12:00 PM / 20:00 CET

Unit testing means different things to different people. To Agile developers, it enables Test Driven Development. To researchers, it enables test generation from static and dynamic analysis. To others, it’s a means to test protocols, APIs, and other functionality below the presentation layer. Others still see it as a means to do conformance testing. Hear four experts debate the perspectives on the advances of the last decade and the trends of the next. Audience participation is encouraged.

TL18 “Oslo”: Customizing and Extending the Visual Design Experience
Don Box, Florian Voss, 1:15 PM / 21:15 CET

“Oslo” provides visual tools for writing data-driven applications and services. Learn how to provide a great experience over domain-specific schemas, and explore the basic user model, data-driven viewer construction, user-defined queries, and custom commands. See how the design experience itself is an “Oslo” application and is driven by content stored in the “Oslo” repository.

BB18 “Dublin”: Hosting and Managing Workflows and Services in Windows Application Server
Dan Eshner, 3:00 PM / 23:00 CET

Hear about extensions being made to Windows Server to provide a feature-rich middle-tier execution and deployment environment for Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) applications. Learn about the architecture of this new extension, how it works, how to take advantage of it, and the features it provides that simplify deployment, management, and troubleshooting of workflows and services.

TL28 “Oslo”: Repository and Models
Chris Sells, 3:00PM / 23:00 CET 😦

“Oslo” is making news. We’re taking silos of proprietary, platform, and application data and opening it up for sharing. What gets shared? Deployment configuration, web services definitions, workflow definitions, and that’s just a start. Learn how to utilize platform models, how to extend models, and how to add your own models to the repository using the “Oslo” modeling language. Also learn how to version, secure, and deploy models.

ES15 Web Application Packaging and Deployment
Saad Ladki, 4:45 PM / Oct 30th, 0:45 CET

In this session, you will learn how to use powerful new UI and command line tools for Web application packaging and deployment, and you’ll dive under the hood of Visual Studio 10 to see how it will support one-click deployment to IIS. You’ll learn how to transform your development settings to make them production ready and how a real world shared hosting environment may be securely connected to a developer web application in VS10. You will also hear best practices for setting up your server and development environment to get huge productivity gains.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 (updated video links)

TL35 WCF: Developing RESTful Services
Steve Maine, 8:30 AM / 16:30 CET

Learn the latest features in Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)for building Web 2.0-style services that use URIs, HTTP GET, and other data formats beyond XML. See how these features can be applied to AJAX web sites, “REST” applications, and data feeds.

BB12 .NET Services: Messaging Services – Protocols, Protection, and How We Scale
Clemens Vasters, 10:15 AM / 18:15 CET

Look under the hood of the Microsoft .NET Services service bus, the protocols we use, and how to use the services from non-Microsoft platforms and languages. Learn which part of the messages and requests the Building Block service inspects, which parts are not inspected, and how you can verify this. Also, learn how to work through NAT and Firewall limitations Last, hear about the architecture on the Data Center side that enables “Internet scale.”

TL31 “Oslo”: Building Textual DSLs
Chris Anderson, Giovanni Della-Libera,  12:00 PM / 20:00 CET

The “Oslo” modeling language can define schemas and transformations over arbitrary text formats. This session shows you how to build your own Domain Specific Language using the “Oslo” SDK and how to apply your DSL to create an interactive text editing experience.

TL11 An Introduction to Microsoft F#
Presenter: Luca Bolognese, 1:45 PM / 21:45 CET

Learn about Microsoft’s new language, F#, a typed functional programming language for the Microsoft .NET Framework. F# combines functional programming with the runtime support, libraries, tools, and object model of .NET. Understand how F# asynchronous workflows help tame the complexity of parallel and asynchronous I/O programming and how to use F# in conjunction with tools such as Parallel Extensions for .NET.