MS diagrams are not UML

MS diagramming is *not* using UML but rather DSM, a new, proprietary diagramming notation. VSTS will be able to import/export UML but do not expect more than this. I find this unfortunate as it will require us to pick one direction and not be able to leverage best-of-breed solutions.

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  1. Keith Short Says:

    I think you are really referring to SDM, which is a schema that underlies Microsoft’s recent Dynamic System Initiative. SDM is a common schema that will eventually bind together metadata about applications from design time through deployment, to run time. SDM allows us to close the loop between design time tools that describe the structure of applications in terms of their connectivity and settings, deployment tools which place bits on hardware, and management tools that watch the state of applications. I’m sure you are also referring to that part of Visual Studio Team System that was formerly known as Whitehorse when you say “MS Diagramming” as described in my blog ( This is based on a family of modeling languages approach that does not prevent the implementation of UML sub-languages as a DSL (domain specific modeling languages) which are small, focused modeling languages. Also, as described in the blog, we use UML notation where that is appropriate, for example our Class Designer, though not a classic UML class diagram as it visualizes CLR types, uses UML notation for class and class relationships. We found that in looking for clear and concise notation for application connectivity and for describing a logical view of a datacenter, existing UML notation was weak, and would otherwise have called for the use of stereotype and tags of otherwise standard UML shapes. We have found these domains to be poorly addressed by stereotypes, yet the notation we’ve used for diagrams based on SDM (in fact SDM is a DSL) seems to be intuitive for architects, developers and network architects.