Microsoft Oslo modeling platform unravels further; M's future remains vague

Microsoft Oslo modeling platform unravels further; M's future remains vague

Summary: Microsoft officials confirmed today what I reported last month: Its Oslo data-modeling platform has been almost completely obliterated.

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Microsoft officials confirmed today what I reported last month: Its Oslo data-modeling platform has been almost completely obliterated.

In August, I noted that Microsoft had discontinued Quadrant,one of its Oslo data-modeling tools. In a blog post on September 22, Microsoft officials confirmed Quadrant and the related Oslo Repository components have both been eliminated.

Oslo is a true shadow of its former self. Microsoft first discussed publicly its plans for “Oslo” — an amorphous multi-product effort that encompased future releases of .Net, Visual Studio, BizTalk and SQL Server. By the fall of 2008, Microsoft had decoupled .Net, Visual Studio, BizTalk and SQL Server from Oslo. When officials said Oslo, they meant Microsoft’s evolving modeling strategy and technologies, specifically the M language, the Quadrant tool and the associated metadata repository.

In the summer of 2009, as part of one of Microsoft’s countless reorgs, the Oslo team was combined with Microsoft’s Data Programability team (which manages Astoria, Entity Data Model (EDM), Entity Framework (EF), XML, ADO.Net and tools/designers). Microsoft officials said the new Oslo plan was to combine the remaining elements with some future version of SQL Server.

On September 22, Microsoft officials reiterated last year's message that partners and customers "prefer a more loosely-coupled approach for model-driven application development based on a common protocol and data model, rather than a single repository." The Open Data Protocol (OData) and the underlying EDM are the data-modeling horses on which the Redmondians are now betting. "We’ve also heard partners and customers want to use their existing tools, specifically Visual Studio and Office, to access application information," officials said today.

One of the champions of Oslo, Doug Purdy, resigned from Microsoft in September, announcing he had taken a job at Facebook.

The one element of Oslo that remains in question is the M data-modeling language. I reported in August that Microsoft was "refocusing" M, but couldn't get company officials to comment.

Today, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Don Box offered the first comment on M in ages, via a blog post on the Microsoft site. Box blogged:

"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 did notice a new reference to "M" in a Microsoft Research Download I saw yesterday. The "DMinor" modeling language is based on the M language, according to the research site.

I asked the spokesperson whether DMinor was all that was left of M -- the data-modeling language on which the Softies have been working for at least two years (when it was known as "D"). The spokesperson denied that was the case.

"We are continuing to invest in the core technology but, like many things, interesting innovation spins off other areas to pursue.  Just look at how C-Omega, begat LINQ, which begat Reactive Framework. Many times these things start in either research or product development and jump back and forth," he said.

Topics: Software Development, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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21 comments
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  • no more new languages from M$!

    why would anyone would use a new language like D or M from M$.
    They've already failed with C#, VB and F#.
    In the meantime OSS is making leaps and bounds with its popular languages.
    Linux Geek
    • Failed?

      @Linux Geek
      Apparently not since MS is making lots of money on tools that support those languages. Mono itself seems to be doing well as they are moving forward.
      DevGuy_z
    • RE: Microsoft Oslo modeling platform unravels further; M's future remains vague

      @Linux Geek,

      Go away.
      bmonsterman
      • RE: Microsoft Oslo modeling platform unravels further; M's future remains vague

        @bmonsterman the correct response is "Please leave us alone."
        @Linux Geek, C# is a great language and is preferable for me than perl, php, or java.
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    • RE: Microsoft Oslo modeling platform unravels further; M's future remains vague

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      • RE: Microsoft Oslo modeling platform unravels further; M's future remains vague

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  • Why am I not surprised? (nt)

    nt
    Economister
  • Clarification

    Mary,
    You might want to clarify that the Don Box post you mention half way down the post is the same one you link to in the second paragraph. The way you phrased the second reference sent me hunting for another blog post!
    samuel_d_jack
  • RE: Microsoft Oslo modeling platform unravels further; M's future remains vague

    We need another flag on the Talkback forums. We have "Reply" and "Flag". Now, we need "Troll".
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  • RE: Microsoft Oslo modeling platform unravels further; M's future remains vague

    Mary-Jo:

    how many people have wasted their career on waiting for something to come out of the Connected System Division? Remember WCF? Announced at the 2003 PDC, shipped 2007? Before that, the BizTalk server? (it was not the CSD, but close enough), then in 2007 the big "Oslo" (what did really ship?) then the little Oslo (M)? What a disaster for Microsoft.
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