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Microsoft Repository General Questions and Answers

Here are the answers to your most common general questions!

What is Microsoft Repository ?

Microsoft Repository is a tool for storing information about software components, their interfaces, and how they relate to other components. This information enables multiple tools to work together across the application development lifecycle. By providing a common format for storing component information, the components can easily be shared, updated, and used by different products for different tasks.

Microsoft Repository is composed of two major components: a set of ActiveXФ interfaces that a developer can use to define open information models, and a repository engine that is the underlying storage mechanism for these information models. The repository engine sits on top of either Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft JET database systems. Microsoft Repository 1.0 ships with the Visual Basic 5.0 Professional and Enterprise Editions.

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What is the benefit of using a repository-enabled product ?

Repository enabled products are able to automate many functions that would normally have to be done manually. For instance, by storing a component's detailed design information created by a modeling tool, a programming tool can automatically generate much of the actual code and database DDL. Applications can be re-targeted to different operating systems, databases, networks and transaction processors automatically by using repository data to drive the implementation tools.

Large workgroups also benefit from the repository. With integrated versioning and configuration management of repository objects many people can work on different parts of a problem at once while the repository keeps track of the changes.

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Who is the customer for Microsoft Repository ?

Microsoft Repository serves two sets of customers in different manners:

    1. Software tool vendors - Software tool vendors benefit from integrating with the repository by gaining access to objects produced by Microsoft applications and by integrating better with other vendors' tools.

    2. Corporate customers - Corporate developers will benefit indirectly by using the software tools that are provided by Software tool vendors and other ISV's.

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What is an information model ?

An information model is a description of the types of data objects that are supported by an application (or a suite of applications), and the relationships that exist between those data types. Microsoft Repository stores information models as repository type libraries. You can define, access, and populate such an information model via Automation interfaces. Information models stored in a repository can be used to create and manage components and other reusable objects, in order to facilitate component-based development.

Microsoft, Texas Instruments Software, Select Software, and Rational Software, are currently working on a component description and object reuse information model. Software tool users and software tool vendors will be able to easily extend the model to include other application structure definitions based on the tools they use or develop.

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What is the Open Information Model ?

The Open Information Model provides a merged set of information models to support a wide spectrum of information modeling needs. These models may be extended by other application builders to support unique requirements of other development tools or applications. The Open Information Model contains built-in support for information models based on the Unified Modeling Language, COM objects, and database schemas using the newly announced Database Model.

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What is the Database Model ?

The Database Model is part of the Open Information Model and was developed by Microsoft with input from a large number of database and data warehousing partners including: TI, LogicWorks, Popkin, Platinum, Informatica, Cognos, Prism, Powersoft, and Business Objects. The Database Model enables an application's data requirements to be specified and stored independently of the actual physical database that will be used. This allows changes in the database implementation to be made with out affecting the application design.

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As an ISV, what advantage do I get by using Microsoft Repository ?

The Microsoft Repository provides four primary advantages for ISV's:

    1. Your products add value to all developers with repository access (over 500,000 to date).

    2. You can create more powerful products with less by taking advantage of component information stored in the repository.

    3. You can avoid the cost and technical complexity of creating and maintaining your own proprietary repository.

    4. Other vendors can add value to content you place into the repository expanding the market for your product.

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As an ISV, how do I work with Microsoft to integrate my tools and applications ?

The specifications for integration will be widely available. Watch this Web site for the latest information.

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Can I integrate Microsoft Repository directly into my product or application ?

Yes, over 30 vendors are developing products that interoperate with Microsoft Repository. Additionally, over 25 vendors have licensed the Microsoft Repository to enable direct product integration. The Microsoft Repository is based on open COM interfaces. This allows the repository to be seamlessly integrated into other tools and applications.

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What technology serves as the basis of Microsoft Repository ?

Microsoft Repository is a COM/ActiveX based repository that is optimized for Microsoft SQL server database (version 6.5 and above) and the Windows NT operating system.

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How do customers get Microsoft Repository ?

Microsoft Repository currently ships with Visual Basic 5.0 Enterprise and Professional Editions, and with the Visual Studio 97 Enterprise Edition. Microsoft will also license the technology to 3rd party software vendors who develop enterprise tools and applications.

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Specifically, what other tools and 3rd party applications will be populating or using Microsoft Repository ?

As Microsoft and software tool vendors create information models for the repository, look for announcements from those vendors and on this Web site.

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How is Microsoft Repository different from other repositories currently available from other vendors ?

Microsoft Repository is highly extensible and based on open COM/ActiveX interfaces. It supports component-sharing using the Open Information Model and the Uniform Modeling Language. It is supported by a large number of independent software vendors

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