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9/11/2003
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Borland Gives Equal Time To C#

The vendor is showing its first design and modeling tool that's fully integrated with Microsoft's development environment.

After years of success with Java tools, Borland Corp. is awarding equal time to Microsoft's C# language.

At the Visual Studio conference, VSLive, in Orlando, Fla., Borland demonstrated its first design and modeling tool that's fully integrated with Microsoft's development environment. The tool, called Together Edition for Microsoft Visual Studio .Net, is Borland's first built in C#, said Michael Faisst, director of product management. Together Edition was demonstrated during a Microsoft keynote on Wednesday.

The modeling and design tool results from Borland's acquisition of TogetherSoft Corp. in January for $82.5 million plus 9 million shares of Borland stock. The acquisition brought TogetherSoft's front-end modeling capabilities to Borland's code-development tools, putting it in a position to better compete with Microsoft's tools and with IBM, after IBM acquired Rational Software Corp. last year.

Borland has offered Java programmers the ability to synchronize changes in application models when changes are made to code. It's now offering the same capability to C# programmers. Borland's LiveSource technology is part of Together Edition and can ensure that changes to code are incorporated into models--and that changes in models are replicated in the code, Faisst said.

"Trying to keep models in synch with source code has always been a huge problem. The programmer who changes the source code doesn't want to go back and change the model," Faisst said. Together Edition stores both the model and the programmer's efforts as source code, allowing automated synchronization between the two, he said.

In addition, Together Edition brings Universal Modeling Language symbols and syntax to C# programmers. By using UML, application models can often result in a skeleton of an application being generated automatically from the model itself. Borland's first integration of TogetherSoft modeling capabilities was unveiled in February for its JBuilder Java tool.

Together Edition for Visual Studio .Net incorporates another concept common to the world of Java programming--the use of patterns. Patterns are the best practices learned through coding experience on how to solve coding challenges. Instead of using many different approaches to solve the same problem, Together Edition enforces a pattern that ensures a high-quality set of code, Faisst said.

At this stage of C#'s existence, "we have a limited set of patterns, compared to Java," he said. But as more good coding patterns are recognized, the modeling tool will recognize when it applies "so we don't need to code it again. If you're sure the pattern is correct, then you raise the quality of the application," he noted.

Together Edition is available for download for use through Nov. 30. After that period, the tool's ability to model will stop working and users will be required to buy a commercial license. Faisst said no pricing has been set for Together Edition at this stage.

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