10 Microsoft research projects

A sneak peek at 10 technologies developed in Microsoft's R&D labs, ranging from laser mice to robotic receptionists

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Codename: OSLO

In the early days of computing, a model -- such as a project organizational chart or the development plan for enterprise software -- was a static document built in Microsoft Excel. The problem: In modern software development, models need to become living documents that many people can access, including business analysts, executives, quality assurance testers and project managers.

The OSLO project, named after the city in Norway, is a framework that helps all contributors -- both technical and non-technical -- access data models in a repository.


"Modeling is something that Bill Gates has talked about as a future trend -- it plays an important role in the application life cycle," says Burley Kawasaki, director of the connected systems division.

One project that is part of that effort is OSLO. It contributes three things. One is a repository where you can change definitions of models from developers and architects all the way to data center mapping. Secondly, you need a way to describe the models, so OSLO has a new declarative language. Third, there are visual tools, especially for the non-technical user.

OSLO is like the SharePoint of application development modeling. It breaks out of the traditional app development process where models are used only during development workflows and helps any contributor see data models as they change and evolve. It also addresses the siloed approach so common in the modern development process.

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