Model-Driven Development Cuts the Coding

Want to build custom Web applications without writing a single line of code? That's the promise of Model-Driven Development (MDD), and the objective of Intelliun's MDD-based Virtual Enterprise (VE) toolset.

Intelliun bills its Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE)-based VE as the first development solution to "facilitate end-to-end application development using only visual models." By implementing application logic with MDD, apps built with Virtual Enterprise don't require even one line of code, according to the company.

Essentially, VE is an MDD platform designed to support the rapid development and integration of multi-tiered applications and Web services. It eliminates coding by enabling application development based on fully executable Unified Modeling Language (UML) models.

MDD-style software development employs "models" from which code and other artifacts are generated. A model is a kind of generalized description of a system that highlights specific characteristics -- a model of a building, for example, might emphasize its load-bearing capacity. These models are most often expressed in UML, a language created for visualizing software systems, which provides the visual notation as well as the underlying semantics.

Industry analyst Jason Bloomberg, managing partner at Zapthink, said he considers Intelliun's MDD approach to be innovative because it follows SOA best practices and employs a service-oriented approach that allows the components of an application to be "rapidly and cost-effectively developed into business processes as needed."

In recent ZapNote he wrote: "VE narrows the construction activity to the creation of the abstract design, focusing primarily on the application logic, and relieving the development team from focusing on implementation details. Consequently, VE reduces the number of required skill sets and the overall team size."

VE 6.0, the latest release of the platform, amps the vendor's MDD cred by allowing the development of a wider range of applications and Web services beyond Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE). VE 6.0 also includes a new "after-the-fact, template-based" code generator designed to let developers "generate code to multiple target architectures" any time in the development process, or after development is completed.

Intelliun President and CEO Iyad Jabri said that VE 6.0 will initially support the generation of C#.NET code, "but we will quickly follow it with other target architectures based on market demand."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance journalist and author based in Palo Alto, CA.

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