Enterprises need to preserve their software investment as new middleware technologies emerge - and the key to achieving this is model-driven architecture (MDA).
This was the emphatic message delivered by speakers at this week's Object Management Group (OMG) information day in London.
The standards body developed the MDA specifications as well as the universal modelling language (UML) with which it is closely associated.
An OMG technical meeting in Paris yesterday voted to recommend UML 2.0. Additions include notational support for required and provided services for interlinked systems, removing a barrier to 100 per cent automation of model-to-application generation.
"A year or two ago we realised designing another über-middleware was not going to be a solution," said Andrew Watson, OMG vice president and technical director, giving the keynote.
"Web services and other middlewares must co-exist, and MDA gives you an architecture to cope with the unexpected."
Development tools implementing MDA are increasingly being adopted by large enterprises because it can automate application development.
Using MDA, a system can be defined independently of any hardware and operating platform within the UML, from which it can automate the generation of platform-specific executable code.
MDA's platform-independent model (PIM) typically includes standard UML-derived models for middleware, such as XML and simple object access protocol for web services and enterprise Java beans.
For each legacy type or emerging technology a new PIM is needed. But, once created, this can be used by the MDA software to generate all, or most, platform-specific models (PSMs) for every application deployment.
The PSM then produces executable application code.
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