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!

A Trip through Europe

A few weeks ago, I took a two and a half week business trip through Europe. That is long to be away from the family…

How that trip came about to be so long is interesting… First, I was supposed to attend and present at EclipseCon Europe. Well, that happened and it was a great week: I presented  “Papyrus for RealTime – Executable Modeling on Eclipse” (which was my best audience thus far at EclipseCons, both in terms of size and quality of questions), I was part of the “Papyrus Industry Consortium” launch, I attended various sessions inclusing the Papyrus Summit, and I took part in the PolarSys Steering Committee (where I volunteered to help with the marketing committee – close enough to product management…). I also had a great one-on-one meetings with the eTrice people, which I am sure will lead to great collaboaration for Papyrus-RT. Overall, a very productive week.

But to get back to how the trip got so long… Since I was in Europe, I decided to visit a company that had expressed an interest in Papyrus for Real Time, and to do that meant that I needed to add three days at the beginning of the trip. Although that company is not yet in a position to adopt Papyrus-RT, they are very interested in the work we are doing. I’m hoping they will be able to either join, or be invited into, the Papyrus Industry Consortium.

So that 1.5 weeks… The last week was added because the Ericsson Modeling Days had been (re)scheduled to immediately follow EclipseCon Europe – another week spent in Stockholm where I did a demo of Papyrus-RT to the attendees. Another week of great discussions amongs modeling enthusiasts.

Since I was in Stockholm, I did manage to have a nice dinner with my Swedish friends (I have to go back in the summer…)!

And then, there was the Lufthansa strike…

Ah! The joys of business travels!

 

EclipseCon Europe 2015 – I’ll be there!

My presentation about “Papyrus for Real Time: Executable modeling on Eclipse” was accepted, so it looks like I will be at EclipseCon Europe 2015 in November (3-5)!

EclipseCon are great conferences – attendees are enthusiastic about technology and open-source technologies in particular. This shows in their wide interests and in their usually good questions (granted, there are not bad questions…so better questions…).

If you are interested in open source solutions for UML, UML-RT, code generation for complex systems, then come to see my presentation!

I look forward to meeting you in Ludwigsburg, DE!

Papyrus for Real-Time: An Eclipse project proposal

Papyrus UML now has a first sub-project proposal: Papyrus for Real-Time! Check out this post on the Papyrus UML blog. The links page on that blog has also been updated to show this project and the Papyrus datasheets.

Some of you probab;y already know that I’ve been involved in this for some time, mainly through my EclipseCon presentations on this topic. This is now getting real.

I would recommend that you go have a look a the proposal and comment in the accompanying forum.