Friday, January 20, 2006

Back from OOP 2006

Just back from OOP in a snowy Munich. Like last year, the quality of the event clearly defines it as the leading European conference on software development in general. Attendance was great, people nice, you could really see people were enjoying it. A lot of big names among the speakers like Markus Völter, Scott Ambler, Juha-Pekka Tolvanen and Krzysztof Czarnecki. I did wonder about the people from Microsoft but I guess Jack Greenfield, Steve Cook and Alan Cameron Wills are too busy with getting version 1.0 of the DSL tools ready for release. Bummer guys, you missed an interesting event and great opportunity to provide some more info about the current state of affairs inside your labs.

It struck me that no one is really questioning the use of DSL's anymore - apart from the usual one guy who misses the point about abstraction and productivity and persistently claims he can do the same with UML + profiles, some manual coding and reverse engineering - and that is a good thing. I believe UML and DSL's are - unfairly - often compared against each other. While there are some cases where doing this makes sense I think the bigger picture should deal with the question of when it makes sense to use the first and when the latter. In the end, both groups of approaches benefit from promotiong modeling in general, something many analysts say still happens far too little.

One morning on my way to the conference I saw a guy from a large German automotive supplier (I saw his email signature in Outlook) switching to his IDE, starting to do some coding. What made me smile was that the majority of his work consisted of copy pasting stuff and making small adjustments. Maybe one day I will again stand in that same train on that same subway line and see the same guy working a lot faster in a DSM environment that not only raises the abstraction level he works on to that of the automotive concepts and rules of his company but that also automates the tedious task of copy pasting the same stuff over and over again.

The other good thing that struck me is that more and more people are aware of MetaEdit+, I guess our efforts in working with many editors of leading magazines are starting to pay off: Looking further into domain-specific modeling fairly quickly leads you to it. Especially companies looking for a graphical modeling front-end to configuring or developing their financial, logistical or what-have-you systems see the benefits of having a modeling language that actually describes their system and that follows the rules that are valid in their unique design area.

I suppose the high of the conference for me was Markus Völters' session on MDSD in which he ousted his opinion on MetaEdit+ being clearly the leading model-driven development tool with the potential of taking the entire market.

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