MD: There are different levels of integration. The VS.NET environment provides much more integration, and in that sense it is certainly easier to use different vendors' tools. But you still face the issue of deeper semantic integration, such as data integration. With different vendors' products, will you get, for example, common representation of use cases between your requirements management tool and your modeling tool? You benefit from deeper semantic integration, where each tool knows how the rest work.
For another example, our component test tools rely heavily on information stored in the models for test-case generation and test-stub generation. That's harder to integrate between vendors. So you can get good UI integration and control integration across vendors, but not data integration and process integration. Deep integration helps us in providing more lightweight, agile versions of lifecycle tools as well. That's why we didn't just port our stuff to .NET. We rearchitected it. The fundamentals don't change with .NET, or with lifecycle tools, but the practicality of using them with a wider variety of projects will.
LT: The old saw goes, "Wait for rev 3 of any MS product; by then it will be in great shape." That has to be doubly true with a technology as vast as .NET. What would you tell development managers who think they should sit on the sideline and let others work with the inevitable bugs in a first release this ambitious?
MD: Like all technologies, there will be glitches along the way. However, we've been impressed with the completeness and robustness of both VS.NET and microsoft .NET. Remember, in the past we integrated with many Microsoft technologies but only embedded a few in our product. Now our basic product architecture depends upon Microsoft technology. We cannot ship if VS.NET does not work. Our experience (having built millions of lines of code on this stuff) is that this is a stable platform. We are betting our business on it, and I am happy to say that we are completely confident. Admittedly, we were pretty scared a year ago, but it is now clear that we made exactly the right bet. Those companies that "wait for version 3.0" will simply miss the boat. Those that move quickly should see (and must demand) immediate business returns.
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