Having made its reputation providing modeling tools for systems engineers in aerospace and defense, Telelogic AB has designed its now available Tau 3.0 tool for the new generation of architects working on enterprise SOA applications.
It has done so with the belief that service-oriented architecture is on the cusp of a modeling boom.
"Most of the users we're targeting with Tau in the enterprise application space are relatively new to modeling," Telelogic vice president of product management Greg Gorman explained. "We used to go after the aerospace and defense systems engineering people who have been doing modeling for 20 years. We've got some new people starting to adopt and embrace UML [Unified Modeling Language]. So we're trying to make it easy with a polished user interface."
Telelogic has focused its Tau 3.0 modeling tool on three major areas of SOA development, beginning with its support of UML 2.0, said Stephen Hendrick, group vice president of IDC Inc. Tau 3.0 provides platform-independent UML modeling that generates implementation artifacts for either .NET or Java, the analyst said.
Second, he said, "Telelogic has added to this core modeling capability support for a variety of key SOA constructs, including XML, WSDL, SOAP, Jini, and UDDI, which enables Tau to both consume and generate SOA artifacts."
Thirdly, he cited Tau's new capability "to wrapper legacy assets so that they can be interfaced and integrated into an SOA environment."
There is room for improvement, the analyst IDC said, but he was impressed with the overall SOA capabilities of the new Telelogic product.
"While all vendors, including Telelogic, can do more to increase the application infrastructure awareness of their tools to better integrate with app servers and ESBs, Tau stands out as one of the most comprehensive modeling and development environments in support of MDD and SOA," Hendrick said.
Usability was also a major concern for Telelogic. Gorman, who also designed the Tau product, said it was designed to have the look and feel of a Microsoft Office desktop application so the modeling tool will be easier for architects who may be new to UML or not be working with it every day as systems engineers in aerospace and defense do.
"The people who are the architects may not be using a modeling tool every single day because they're also working on specifications and off in customer meetings and other kinds of tasks," Gorman explained. "We need to make sure that when they get into Tau, they are very productive right away. So they say: 'Oh, I remember that.' So they can jump back right in."
Ease of use, while a cliché in software marketing, is important if SOA project managers want architects and developers to closely adhere to requirements, the Telelogic executive said. He pointed to the way Tau has been integrated with Doors, the company's requirements management product. For example, he said if a requirement changes in Doors for the number of seconds an application has to respond to an end user's mouse click, the architect working in Tau is immediately alerted, so the change can easily be incorporated in the modeling.
"You need to make it easy," Gorman said, "because if it's easy people will do requirements. If it's not easy they won't."