Is Papyrus Ready?

Late last year, Michael Jastram stated that he was disappointed in Eclipse Papyrus, which I will admit was probably a valid concern in the past.

This prompted me to comment on it on the PapyrusUML blog, first in my secret identity as one of the bloggers on that site and then as myself in the comment (thus revealing said secret identity).

As a result of this, Jaxenter invited be to provide a longer response to address various aspects of Papyrus. And I agreed to answer their questions as this type of conversation can only ensure that we have an active, constructive discussion to improve our mutual understanding and Papyrus.

You can see my response in their “Eclipse Papyrus — Ready for the big stage?” article.

In short, it all depends on your expectations. Are you a UML expert or a toolsmith? Then you may very well find what you need in Papyrus. Are you a beginner with UML? Then you may very well be overwhelm by the tool. It’s all a matter of perspective, expectations, and needs!

The one thing I am certain of is that, with the Papyrus Industry Consortium, Papyrus’ future is brighter than a year ago!

An evening of System Security Engineering

Some of you may know that I am a member of INCOSE, but few may be aware that I am involved in the efforts being made to create a Canada Chapter.

As part of its effort to become a registered chapter, the emergent Canada Chapter has held conferences in the past (the last one was on December 21, 2015).

There is a new event coming up on June 16 that promises “An evening of System Security Engineering” (a.k.a., SSE)!

SSE is gaining a lot of traction these days, especially with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IOT, or as some like to say, the Internet of Everything) and various security concerns around our infrastructures. If you are building systems, this is a topic that you can’t avoid.

Are you interested in knowing more? Have a look at the flyer and maybe you’ll want to join us!  Tickets are availble from Eventbrite and if you’re an active INCOSE member, it’s free!

I hope to see you there!

 

 

Papyrus Industry Consortium now fully formed and running!

I know I’ve blogged before about the Papyrus Industry Consortium in recent postings. But we are now staffed and up and running, as seen in the official Eclipse press release from Embedded World.

And this is not a small, developer community around Eclipse offerings. Just look at the founding members, from both user and supplier companies: AdocusAirbus Defence & Space, Airbus Helicopters, Atos, CEA ListCombitech/Saab, EclipseSourceEricsson,  Flanders makeFraunhofer Focus,OneFact, and Zeligsoft (where I currently work). There are some big names in there! And there may be more announcements coming…

I don’t want to rehash what is already stated in the press release, on the web site, or in the charter. I’ll just summarize that the Papyrus Industry Consortium is a group of users and suppliers who pool their resources to create, promote, and use open source modelling tools for systems engineering. In a way, you could say that the Papyrus Industry Consortium is “leading open source modeling for industry!”

But asides from OneFact and Zeligsoft, where are the companies from the Americas? We certainly need more representation in the open source modelling world! I know there is a lot of modelling usage in the systems space in North America, there must be some interest… Even the US DoD’s CIO stated in “Clarifying Guidance Regarding Open Source Software (OSS)“:

To effectively achieve its missions, the Department of Defense must develop and update its software-based capabilities faster than ever, to anticipate new threats and respond to continuously changing requirements. The use of Open Source Software (OSS) can provide advantages in this regard.

I know, having worked at IBM Rational, that many US DoD funded projects use modelling, could they be interested? Let us know if you are!

So for all my friends and colleagues in North America: if you or your company in interested in knowing more, get in touch with me! It will be my pleasure to talk about the Papyrus Industry Consortium and what we are doing and planning to do in the future.

I will be at EclipseCon between March 6 and 11. If you happen to be attending or are around Reston, VA (or Washington, DC), we could even meet in person!

By the way, if you are at Embedded World this week, go to Hall 4, Booth 160 and talk to the PolarSys people there – the Papyrus IC being an industry group under Eclipse PolarSys.

Eating the world through DSML

I borrowed this blog entry title from an interesting post in the January 2016 Eclipse Newsletter titled “How to Eat the World with DSLs.”

In that article, the author makes many good point about DSL, such as creating a language with which the users are already familiar and abstracting the more complex aspects of coding (a payroll system implemented in Excel sheet in this case) to facilitate the domain expert’s job.

The same approach can be used when dealing with the complexity of modeling. UML is known to be rather complex, but a using a DSML to represent your domain will simplify the work of your developers. Ericsson presented a good example of this at EclipseCon Europe 2014: “UML or DSML? You can now have both with Papyrus 1.0!

An advantage of using a UML-based DSML, at least in the Systems Domain, is that existing analysis tools can be used on the underlying UML model to do common functions, e.g. traceability. Using UML as the base for your DSML also allows you reuse parts of the UML that would make sense in your domain (e.g., sequence diagrams are already available for free). For other aspects, such as collaborative modeling, you would still need to do some toolsmith work to be able to present the results in the context of your DSML instead of UML. Domain experts should not have to understand the underlying implementation and must be kept at their level of abstraction!

The capability to author DSMLs is already available within Papyrus and will continue to evolve and improve as part of the newly created Papyrus Industry Consortium.

And even if you do not feel like you need to base your DSML on UML, there are other Eclipse offerings, such as Xtext (mentioned in the article referenced above, textual DSL) and Eclipse Sirius (graphical DSML based on its own metamodel).

Within Eclipse PapyrusRT, we already use Papyrus’ DSML capabilities to implement the graphical UML-RT modeling language. We are now investigating combining this with an Xtext-based representation of UML-RT to blur the line between graphics and text. Our take is that you should not limit yourselves to only textual or graphical representation – some things are easier in one or the other and, sometimes, a mix of both can be better!

With a good infrastructure to support it, DSMLs are the modeling approach of the future and is available now. You should take a closer look!