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Contacts: Dusya Broytman, IBM, (212) 745-4070
Internet: dusya@us.ibm.com

Oliver L. Picher, Unisys, 215-986-5367
Internet: Oliver.Picher@unisys.com

IBM and Unisys Lead Effort To Formalize Industry Standard For Streamlining Collaborative Software Development

New Standard Will Make Web-based Programming More Consistent

ORLANDO, June 10, 1998 -- IBM and Unisys, accompanied by co-submitter Oracle and other leading software vendors, today proposed an industry standard that would streamline collaborative application development efforts on the Web. The proposal was outlined to the Object Management Group (OMG), an object technology standards body, at the OMG Technical Committee Meeting here today.

The proposal was created in response to developer's needs for standardized methods of sharing data, regardless of tool or programming language, in collaborative development environments. It aims to make 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. The resulting model is intended to give developers working with object technology the ability to exchange programming data over the Internet in a standardized way, thus bringing consistency, interoperability and compatibility to applications created in collaborative environments.

By establishing an industry standard for storing and sharing object programming information, development teams using various tools from multiple vendors can still collaborate on applications. The proposed 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 development environment.

IBM, Unisys and Oracle are joined by supporters that include Rational Software and SELECT Software Tools. The full XML Metadata Interchange Format specification, known as XMI, will be officially submitted at the OMG meeting this July in Helsinki.

The Marriage of Object- and Web-based Standards

The XMI specification integrates XML, a specification set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), with the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Meta Object Facility (MOF) specifications adopted by OMG. UML is designed to give application developers a common language for specifying, visualizing, constructing and documenting distributed objects and business models. XML is a standard for defining, validating and sharing document formats on the Web. The MOF is designed as an OMG repository standard for distributed repositories and meta data management and is fully integrated with the UML and, now, with XML.

Pervasive support of XML, UML and MOF standards throughout the industry and widely available supporting technology, including repositories and databases, significantly reduces the time and cost to provide product interoperability in distributed heterogeneous software environments.

"Data interchange in a collaborative development environment has always been possible, but it was never based on a single standard," said Emilie McCabe, vice president of marketing, IBM Application Development and Object Technology. "With XMI, development teams working in multiple locations on the same application will have the ability to build models, store them, and exchange them over the Internet in a standardized fashion, regardless of programming language or tool."

Aiding Team-based Application Development

Development teams are often split into several groups that work in multiple locations using tools from multiple vendors, and need to access the same data. In this type of development environment, developers need standardized methods of sharing data, regardless of tool or programming language, to remain consistent with the overall application design.

"Unisys and IBM have been collaborating on the architecture and design of the XMI proposal since January," said Dick Ulmer, vice president, Pacific Development Labs, Unisys Computer Systems. "Unisys is excited at how well this effort accelerates our vision of object interoperability and Web-based delivery of meta data. With broad-based support from many of the industry's leading software vendors, XMI promises to enable developers to work together regardless of location, programming tool or development environment."

Today's proposal leverages and expands part of the UML, XML and MOF standards already in use by many other major software vendors. It allows developers to create distributed applications in a vendor-neutral environment, and demonstrates the commitments of Unisys and IBM to providing standards-based technology to the development community.

Technical Information

For detailed technical information on UML and MOF, please visit the OMG web site at http://www.omg.org. Both of these specifications can be downloaded from the OMG home page.

For detailed technical information on XML, please visit the W3C web site at http://www.w3.org.

For a description of the technical features and benefits of the XMI proposal, please visit IBM's web site at www.software.ibm.com or the Unisys web site at http://www.marketplace.unisys.com/products/urep.

About IBM

IBM creates, develops and manufactures the industry's most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, networking systems, storage devices and microelectronics. IBM offers information about the company and its products through the World Wide Web. The fastest, easiest way to get information about IBM software is through the IBM software home page at http://www.software.ibm.com.

Information on IBM's collaborative application development offerings, such as VisualAge TeamConnection and Component Broker, can be found at http://www.software.ibm.com/ad.

About Unisys

Unisys is an information technology solutions provider that has a portfolio of information services, technologies and third-party alliances needed to help clients capitalize on their information asset to enhance their competitiveness and responsiveness to customers. Unisys expertise is founded on the strengths of three global businesses: Information Services, providing consulting, application solutions, systems integration and outsourcing; Computer Systems, providing industry-leading technologies; and Global Customer Services, delivering comprehensive services and products supporting distributed computing environments. Access the Unisys home page on the World Wide Web -- http://www.unisys.com -- for further information.

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RELEASE NO.: 0698/6496
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