There are few initiatives at Microsoft that have undergone as many twists and turns as Oslo, Microsoft's modeling platform/strategy.
On November 10, Microsoft announced the latest Oslo shift: Oslo's three main remaining components are going to be be renamed "SQL Server Modeling" and be folded into some future release of Microsoft's database.
In 2007, Microsoft first discussed publicly its plans for “Oslo” -- an amorphous multiproduct 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 metadata repository. This past summer, as part of one of Microsoft's countless reorgs, the Oslo team was combined with Microsoft's Data Programmability team (which manages Astoria, Entity Data Model (EDM), Entity Framework (EF), XML, ADO.Net and tools/designers).
Going into the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2009 next week, Microsoft is planning to make available a new Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of Oslo, which will be its first since May 2009. This new CTP will be known as the SQL Server Modeling CTP.
According to a November 10 blog posting by Product Unit Manager Doug Purdy, this new CTP "will begin to demonstrate how developers will use these (Oslo) technologies in concert with things like T-SQL, ADO.NET, ASP.NET and other parts of the .NET Framework to build database applications."
"All of these components are now part of SQL Server and will ship with a future release of that product," Purdy blogged this week. (Purdy doesn't specify a ship date target, but I'm doubtful it will be in time for the next version of SQL Server, SQL Server 2008 R2, which is due out in the first half of 2010.)
As of next week, Microsoft also plans to integrate the Oslo” Developer Center and the Data Developer Center into a new site, http://msdn.microsoft.com/data.
On Twitter, the overwhelming sentiment about the latest change in Oslo's direction are largely negative. Here are a few reactions:
Scott Banwart: With this announcement, I no longer see the point of Oslo.
Tomas Restrepo: Cynical thought of the day: Oslo == Longhorn. OK, could've been worse (i.e. Cairo).
James Hart: Any expectations anybody had for what Oslo might turn out to be came from their own imagination. Disappointment was inevitable.
Ryan Rinaldi: The Oslo story just got more confusing.
Steve Bohlen: good lord; Oslo follows in the footsteps of WinFS; big (if nebulous) idea degenerates into dull implementation w dubious value
Sean Munger: Friends dumbstruck at flying saucers descending over Oslo. (Oops. Maybe a different Oslo)
Any developers out there see a silver lining in the latest Oslo moves? Or is it time for the aliens to rush in and take over?