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Modeling tools and the application lifecycle

The world of ALM tooling is always changing to overcome new challenges and better meet the needs of today’s application lifecycle. Here expert Mike Jones discusses the latest trends in ALM modeling tools and explains what ALM 2.0 is about.

What impact do modeling tools have on ALM? 

While most modeling tools are aligned to a specific software development lifecycle (SDLC), they do come in various shapes and sizes. In the 90s, we saw the rise of CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering) tools, the promise of which was to take high-level diagrams and deliver working code. In turn, there were many variations of these tools, from simple drawing software like Visio, to database design products, to full-blown CASE tools. Looking back, these tools changed the way many IT shops delivered their applications and actually had an impact on their ALM processes. Most importantly, they brought some discipline, usually in the form of a methodology and supporting SDLC, to the delivery of application software. There were challenges, however, with these tools, mostly around flexibility and lock-in. Then we saw the emergence of Object Oriented (OO) design concepts that paved the way for a new wave of modeling approaches, bringing us UML and various OO and component-oriented methodologies like RUP and Catalysis. 

Today, we are seeing a new wave of modeling tools aligned with what many like to call ALM 2.0. These tools work to address the whole lifecycle of application delivery and, more importantly, the challenges faced with hand coding Java and .Net, such as complexity and slow change. These new tools offer a combination of development frameworks, as they are very extensible and provide a dramatic reduction in complexity, while covering the full life of application development and maintenance through their model-based nature and features. As more and more of these new wave tools become popular, I expect we will see an impact on the current state of ALM -- specifically, reducing the number of standalone tools that currently make up most organizations’ ALM tool kits.

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