The Artist Formerly Known as Oslo

The Formerlys, Oslo and Prince

Now known as SQL Server Modeling, this is a modeling platform created by Microsoft.  Initially, it was intended to be the answer to cross platform modeling, but that is back when it was called Oslo.  With its new name came a focus on SQL and the .NET framework.

There is a lot of information out there about Oslo (I can’t stop calling Prince “Prince” either).  So much that one could drown in it….or at least wile away hours in tech articles or presentations (hours, I tell you) by the Oslo team themselves.  But wherever you go to learn about this modeling platform, you will be drilled with these three Oslo components:

  • The Tool, called Quadrant, is a visual editor used to interact with information.  With a typical MS window layout, the user can graphically interact with the database via a familiar environment.
  • The Language, M, is a declarative language for creating and manipulating information.  It allows the user to write models in a text format and then generate SQL code that creates storage for the models in the database or puts data into the database.
  • The Repository is an SQL database to store models.

This is not the first model driven software.  Yet, part of what Microsoft believes makes Oslo stand out and all the more appealing is its text based language.  They see developers as more verbal than visual.  M, broken into M-schema which describes the structure and M-grammar which describes the syntax, provides a textual base for developers map out their model.  A user can develop the model in M schema (IE the textual format), deploy this into a database, create grammar for the database, and then execute that on a data file.

I admit, not being a developer myself, I lean more toward the visual modelers.  But that is why there are always new tools being developed; it is nice that we can migrate to something that works for each of us.


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