at the  PDC Douglas Purdy (together with Vijaye Raji) finally presented Oslo (quite entertaining, it's long but it's worth it)

Oslo comprises 3 things:

A language: "M" to model domain specific models and languages (grammars)

A tool: "Quadrant" to visualize models and to give it simple views (yes views , like in MVC).

A repository: (basically a SQL Server database) to store models and data

find more information here, the SDK is ready for download.

 

what's so special about Oslo?

Microsoft skipped the classic UML/MDA thing and started something completely new. Well, not that new, actually, people (outside the MS world) do use dynamic languages (especially Ruby) to create DSLs for quite some time now. But it's good to see that MS picks up good ideas [1].

It's all about better readability, less (better: no) plumbing code, low noise (less braces and brackets, semicolons, declarations, typing, initializations, castings etc.) .  All this is intended  to gain productivity: we can express our intent directly in simple code, whoever needs to read it will understand it better.

Microsoft takes these concepts and puts it on steroids: all dynamic, visual tools, Intellisense , all the goodness. The complexity of WCF, WF, EF and any other complex domain can now be expressed in domain specific code, we (the developers) do not have to deep dive into XML (XAML...)and APIs in all its flavors anymore (you can still do that if you need to, its all still there).

Check out the upcoming shows on this topic, they will explain the modeling language "M" in more detail.

That's  the beginning of a new era for Microsoft. The post- "write to much code and deal with clumsy XML files" era. Very cool. ;-)

 

[1]

Check out RSpec (a language to describe expected behaviour for Behaviour Driven Development), HAML (a better MVC-View language for creating HTML) and SASS (same thing for CSS) to see what I mean (I forgot YAML, which is a human-friendly data format). BTW,  All these great tools live in in Ruby on Rails. For me,  DHHs (the creator of RoR) greatest achievement is that he opened our eyes: development  should be as clear and simple like Danish Design.