IBM, Unisys and Oracle Lead Initiative on Industry Standard for Collaborative Web-based Software Development

Companies Advance Final Proposal to Formalize Standard; Demonstrate Product Prototypes

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Burlingame, CA - 11 Nov 1998: . . . IBM, Unisys and Oracle, accompanied by other leading software vendors and end-users, today presented the final proposal of an industry standard to streamline collaborative application development efforts on the Web. The three companies also demonstrated how disparate development tools and environments can interoperate using the new specification.

Known as the XML Metadata Interchange Format specification, or XMI, the proposed industry standard is intended to give teams of developers working with object technology and using a diverse set of tools the ability to exchange programming data over the Internet in a standardized way. As a result, development teams using various tools from multiple vendors can still collaborate on applications.

The proposal was submitted to the Object Management Group (OMG), an object technology standards body, at the group's annual member meeting here today. Product prototype demonstrations were also shown at the meeting.

Earlier this year several proposals for a standardized method of sharing data were submitted to OMG, including the XMI submission. Since then, support for the XMI submission has grown, and other companies have withdrawn their own proposals and have lined up behind the XMI specification. The co-submitters of the XMI specification are Unisys Corporation, IBM, Oracle Corporation, Cooperative Research Centre for Distributed Technology (DSTC), Platinum Technology Inc., Fujitsu, SofTeam, Recerca Informatica and Daimler-Benz. The 20 additional supporters of the proposal include Rational Software and SELECT Software Tools (see list at end of release).

By establishing an industry standard for storing and sharing object programming and design information, development teams using various tools from multiple vendors can still collaborate on applications. The proposed XMI standard will allow developers to leverage the Web to exchange data between tools, applications and repositories to create secure, distributed applications built in a team environment. Pervasive support of such standards throughout the industry and widely available supporting technology, including repositories and databases, significantly reduces the time and cost of development to provide product interoperability in distributed heterogeneous software environments.

"With XMI as a single standard for data interchange in a collaborative development environment, companies can reap the benefits of time savings and productivity gains in application development," said Emilie McCabe, vice president of marketing, IBM Application Development. "Corporate developers can rely on tools from multiple vendors and build applications faster by creating them in a collaborative environment and reusing application parts and models."


The XMI specification allows developers to create distributed applications in a vendor-neutral environment, and demonstrates the commitments of IBM, Unisys and Oracle to providing standards-based technology to the development community. XMI aims to make the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) -- integrated with the OMG's Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Meta Object Facility (MOF) -- the cornerstone of an open information interchange model. These standards are already in use by many major software vendors.

"The rapid integration of modeling and repository technologies from the OMG and W3C into the XMI specification is a great example of industry consensus on how metadata practically unifies diverse technologies," said Sridhar Iyengar, Unisys Fellow and chair, OMG Object Analysis and Design Task Force. "As today's demonstrations indicate, our vision -- that developers would visually design models for various domains and then share objects and metadata regardless of development tool or environment -- is quickly becoming reality."

Demonstrating the Real and Substantial Benefits of XMI

Today's demonstrations by Unisys, IBM, Oracle and SELECT Software Tools illustrate the practical value of XMI. The vendors showed the exchange of a UML model between a variety of modeling and development tools and repositories, including IBM's VisualAge* for Java development environment, IBM VisualAge TeamConnection* enterprise repository, the object building technology of IBM WebSphere* Enterprise Application Server, IBM DB2* Universal Database, Rational Rose, SELECT Component Factory (SCF), Unisys UREP repository, Oracle Repository and Oracle Database Designer. Each modeling tool is used to view and extend the model before passing it on to the next vendor.

"XMI provides the basis for collaboratively developing and standardizing other information models," said Peter Thomas, executive product manager, Repository Technologies, Oracle Corporation. "Data warehousing is one example where a common warehouse model based on XMI would result in major benefits for organizations."

XML is the recommendation set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for defining, validating and sharing document formats on the Web, while UML is designed to give application developers a common language for specifying, constructing and documenting distributed objects and business models. MOF is an OMG standard for distributed repositories and metadata management.

Additional Information

For a description of the technical features and benefits of the XMI proposal, please visit IBM's Web site at or the Unisys web site at

The supporters of the XMI proposal include the following companies: Ardent, Aviatis, Boeing, Cayenne Software, Genesis Development, ICONIX, Inline Software, Integrated Systems, MCI Systemhouse, NCR, Nihon Unisys, NTT, Rational Software, SELECT software, Sprint Communications Company, Sybase, Xerox, Verilog, Telefonica and Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya.

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