IBM Manifesto

by Grant HEnson

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In 2002, the computer industry was grappling with a significant slowdown in corporate IT spending. The dot-com bubble burst and ensuing economic recession had created a challenging climate for IT investment. However, IBM, one of the largest tech corporations globally, remained dedicated to its long-standing initiative to enhance the rigor and productivity of software development through modeling technologies.

During this period, IBM made notable contributions to defining key MDA (Model Driven Architecture) standards such as UML (Unified Modeling Language), MOF (Meta Object Facility), and XMI (XML Metadata Interchange). These contributions underlined IBM's continuous push for better development practices, even amidst the industry's financial woes.

In a significant move, IBM integrated a MOF- and XMI-based metadata management engine into its development tools, enhancing the ability to manage and leverage data across various software development stages. Further demonstrating its commitment to the wider IT community, IBM began the process of releasing this metadata management engine as the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF), an open-source software.

Despite these important strides in the development and deployment of modeling technologies, much of the IT world was focused elsewhere. The industry was primarily occupied with navigating the turbulent economic environment, causing these crucial advancements by IBM to progress somewhat quietly without widespread acknowledgment.

However, IBM's commitment to MDA came under a more significant spotlight when it acquired Rational Software for a whopping $2.1 billion in cash. For those who had been closely following IBM's MDA activities, this acquisition was a confirmation of the tech giant's top management viewing MDA as a strategic priority. To others, it was a wake-up call to start paying closer attention to this crucial aspect of IBM's business.

The acquisition of Rational Software, a company known for its software development tools, was an unequivocal statement about IBM's belief in MDA and its potential for transforming software development. By pursuing MDA, even amidst a broader industry slowdown, IBM signaled a long-term vision that prioritized innovation and progress in software development.

In retrospect, IBM's unwavering commitment to MDA during this period has proven to be a far-sighted decision that has shaped the company's software development strategies and the industry at large. It serves as a testament to IBM's long-standing dedication to innovation, even in challenging economic times.

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