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Current and Future Tool Support for MDA

Tool support is crucial to the MDA approach. Without an integrated tool set chances of project success are much reduced. At the very least, tool support should provide an environment to allow for the drawing and checking of UML models, the specification of interface definition sets and the automatic generation of code.

What Tool Support is Available Now?

Several vendors provide tools that partially support integration, including substantial code generation. Many tools had been originally developed to implement Shlaer-Mellor's Recursive Design approach, well before the MDA initiative existed, but were later rebadged as MDA tools.

PT Logo

Project Technology Inc. (PT) is the training company formed by Steve Mellor and the late Sally Shlaer. Frustrated by the level of support provided by tool vendors for the Shlaer-Mellor method they created their own tool called BridgePoint. Steve Mellor now plays an important part in defining the MDA approach within the OMG.

KC Logo

Kennedy Carter (KC) is a Surrey based company who were the official providers of Shlaer-Mellor training in the UK until PT established their own subsidiary in Ayr, Scotland at the start of 1997. However, PT's Scottish office failed to significantly increase the uptake of the Shlaer-Mellor method in the UK and was closed down a few years later.

Meanwhile, Kennedy Carter continued to actively promote the method and contribute to its development. KC's MDA tool is called iUML which is based on an older tool called Intelligent OOA (I-OOA) that was originally developed to support the Shlaer-Mellor Method.

Aonix Logo

Aonix are the vendors of Ameos. The tool provides a transformation engine based on MDA and implements UML 2.0. UML profiles are employed to allow designers to update the tools internal UML Metamodel which should have the effect of improving the model transformation process.

The company has been created from the gradual merger of several tool vendors since the 1980's. The most significant companies acquired were Interactive Development Environments who sold Software Through Pictures, Select who were a UK based modeling tool vendor and Alsys with their Ada compiler technology.

Future Tool Support

The tools available now will certainly get more sophisticated as the MDA approach gets better defined. They should provide a better UML notation that is far more concise and rigourous through some form of Executable UML. The choice of architectures and platforms should also improve as more third party vendors become involved.