CA Modeling Tool Supports WCF

CA's Plex rapid application development environment creates .NETbased services based on Windows Communication Foundation.

IT management software supplier CA's Plex rapid application development environment now lets developers model and generate Microsoft .NET-based services based on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF).

Islandia, N.Y.-based CA added the WCF support in December in its newest release of Plex, a multiplatform, model-driven development (MDD) environment that includes architectural and design objects known as patterns, which reduce the need to code repeatable elements of apps.

Mixing and Matching
Support for WCF in Plex version 6.1 facilitates the mixing and matching of .NET-based services across the enterprise and with business partners, according to William Hunt, a CA product manager. The new WCF support allows developers using Plex to build applications that can utilize such .NET technologies as Windows Workflow Foundation to enable business process automation modeling from a single dev environment, Hunt says.

"As we see it -- and as we believe Microsoft sees it -- WCF is the future of how service-oriented architectures [SOAs] will be adopted in applications," Hunt explains. "So it's important for us to provide this kind of capability going forward."

The tool is designed to support a number of platforms, including Windows/.NET; Java/J2EE; servers that run Java on Linux, Unix and other OSes; and IBM System i, formerly known as iSeries or AS/400. Plex 6.1 also runs on Windows Vista desktops.

Plex is historically popular among System i users, Hunt says, and its new WCF capabilities are aimed at helping AS/400 shops face a changing future. "We see AS/400 users pondering what their modernization strategies will be," he says. "We also believe that the model-based development approach that we offer is ideal for the quick adoption of SOAs. That's because it's an environment that largely shields developers from low-level details of certain technologies."

MDD Approach
The WCF capability is the most compelling part of this release, says John Rhodes, CTO and co-founder of ADC Austin, a systems integrator based in Austin, Texas, who's used Plex for years, and who's company was part of the beta program for version 6.1. "It enables Plex to generate Microsoft-compliant Web services. It helps customers expose their large models to external services," Rhodes explains.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at

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