'Out of your brain and onto a hard disk': Microsoft's Oslo SOA push

A fresh approach, a new language for developer productivity

For Microsoft, Oslo not only represents its future intentions to bring SOA sensibilities to the commodity computing space, but also to make it easier for non-tech types (gulp) to build services and applications.

Where exactly did Oslo come from, and where does Microsoft intend to take it? For those that are wondering what Oslo is all about, Darryl Taft put together this overview that takes a deep dive into the intricacies of Oslo.

Oslo is not a single product, but a capability that is being built into future products, such as BizTalk Server, to enable the rapid building and deployment of composite applications -- which supposedly makes it easier to build using SOA principles.

Microsoft's original purpose of Oslo was to make software development easier by enabling people (and not necessarily just developers) to create applications from models or diagrams. Microsoft's Don Box is quoted as stating that the goal of Oslo is “We’re trying to make it simple to get an idea out of your brain and onto a hard disk.”

Part of the Oslo effort includes a new language, code-named "D." Why D? What's wrong with C# -- the .NET core language that has finally started to catch on with developers? The D language was developed as a declarative programming language that delivered a visual tool for creating models along with a repository to store the models and metadata.

Web 2.0 is making is easier for end users to assemble their own applications, and this is clearly the direction SOA needs to take. The agility to be gained from quickly assembling or de-assembling services to address ever-changing business requirements would be lost if the business has to keep going to their already overburdened IT departments to make the adjustments.Microsoft seems to understand that the momentum is moving toward business end-user empowerment -- that's how they got to be such a big company in the first place. But will Oslo and D make SOA as simple and easy to grasp as Web 2.0? Microsoft seems to acknowledge that the D language will be too much for many people to learn, and is harder than Excel or Visual Basic.

ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley also provided some preliminary details on Oslo a couple of months back.

Rob Helm (Directions on Microsoft) also published a good overview (PDF) on Microsoft's Oslo plans.