SysML 2 is GO!


A month back, on November 12, I attended the Future Directions for SysML v2 webinar, which presented the approach taken to define the process of the next version of SysML. This was very informative and, at the time, I thought the approach was well thought and the desired improvements were exciting.

And now, I read Tim Weilkiens’ “Next Generation SysML – All-Clear For Takeoff” entry in the MBSE4U blog indicating that the OMG has voted for the SysML v2 RFP!

From what I saw in the webinar, this is good news. But this kind of endeavour is not something that can be done quickly – and neither should it! But in 2-5 years, we’ll have a new, better, and enhanced way of modeling systems!

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!

BridgePoint now open source!

I’ve been talking about open source modelling tools for the last little while, mainly about Papyrus and promoting Papyrus-RT (with which I am, obviously from my posts, involved). Well another company has seen the open source light: Mentor Graphics has now formally released its BridgePoint tools to open source. A new company, OneFact, staffed with ex-Mentor Graphics employees, is taking over the mantle for the maintenance, support, and consulting for the tool.

You can read the announcement here and the accompanying presentation (Prezi) here.

This good news. First, it is further indication that there is a business case around open source modelling tools, so our own efforts are validated. Second, the approach taken by Mentor Graphics does not leave existing customers wondering what is happening or will happen (there have been questions about Mentor Graphics’ intentions for BridgePoint for quite a while) and ensures continuity.

Congratulations and good luck to the folks at OneFact!