Microsoft shuffles business framework team, technology

Microsoft shuffles business framework team, technology

Microsoft has shuffled its Microsoft Business Framework team because MBF is now part of several different products.

Microsoft has shuffled members of the team responsible for its Microsoft Business Framework (MBF) because the technology itself has been parsed out to several different products, a Microsoft executive said.

Satya Nadella, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions, said about 200 people who were developing the framework, which was initially intended to bring model-driven development to Microsoft's business applications, were affected by the change. Model-driven development is a way of designing software that aims to boost developer productivity by emphasizing thorough application modeling before any actual coding begins.

About half of the MBF group remained where they were in Microsoft's Platform Products & Services Division, while the others were transferred to Microsoft's Business Solutions group within the larger Microsoft Business Division, he said.

In their new roles, the former MBF team members will continue developing their framework technology for different product teams, Nadella said. Though Microsoft originally conceived MBF as its own entity, several products, including Microsoft's Visual Studio toolset and Microsoft Office, will now include components of the framework.

For instance, Visual Studio 2005, the next version of developer tools that Microsoft plans to formally unveil Nov. 7, will include data-modeling functionality, code-named Whitehorse, for developers building business applications on top of SQL Server 2005, he said. The next version of Microsoft's database is expected to be launched the same day as Visual Studio 2005.

Whitehorse will let application developers create business objects and relate them to data stored in SQL Server by modeling the object and describing its relationship to data rather than writing a lot of code, Nadella said.

Developers building business applications for Microsoft Office also will benefit from technology originally created for MBF, he said. The next version of Microsoft Office, code-named Office 12, will feature Windows Workflow Foundation, an MBF that will streamline workflow across business applications built to take advantage of Office.

The next generation of Microsoft's ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) applications, the Dynamics family of products, also will include technology originally intended for MBF. Dynamics includes software suites formerly known as Navision, Great Plains, Microsoft CRM, Axapta and Solomon, all of which have been rebranded separately under the Dynamics name.

The Dynamics products are all on separate release schedules, Nadella said. Some of them have updates scheduled for release later this year, and others in 2006. All of the forthcoming releases, however, will include tie-ins to Visual Studio developed by the MBF team, he said.

"Every new release [of Dynamics] will exploit new features in Visual Studio," Nadella said.

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