Thursday, January 11, 2007

DSM growing, UML slowing

The number of hits on Google for the string "domain-specific modeling" is clearly showing exponential growth. Today Google treated me with 88,100 results, making the graph I created 2 days ago (above) already outdated ( has that same characteristic UML models also have).

I was interviewed by the German magazine "ComputerZeitung" for their focus on modeling and model-driven development, the
article is available here.

Reading it myself, it surprised me to have the magazine report Bran Selic talk about a new wave of UML:

"Wir bauen substanzielle semantische Definitionen ein. So wird die Sprache ausdrucksstärker und zu einem besseren Kommunikationsmittel."

Translation: We're building substantial semantic definitions into UML. This way, the UML will become more expressive and a better vehicle for communication. In other words, it seems the OMG thinks it a good idea to make it even more complex and even less suitable for code generation: Adding precise semantics to a general-purpose modeling language, leads you to some sort of ehr... general-purpose-domain-specific modeling language (hmmm try to market that).

UML is poorly suited for generating anything else from it than simply a copy of what it represents. Normally this means documentation. Adding precise semantics to the UML means the committee of tool vendors (all with their own agendas) need to agree on those precise semantics, which is impossible, period. The precise semantics will most likely end up being very loosely interpretable precise semantics, that you then can probably extend with semantic profiles of something like that. The end: a 160,000 page UML specification with the "U" clearly meaning "universal". Great idea Bran, let's add some more stuff to the UML.
The OMG seems to struggle with its mammoth specification, a new wave is needed because competing, disruptive technologies (domain-specific modeling) is eating away at the base. The only thing to do: move upmarket, add more stuff to your product (read this thought leading book on it).

A mark on the wall of UML's demise, is Telelogic, which now offers its UML tool for zilch, all you need is register and download. Their sales team will then no doubt hunt you for costly add ons. The UML tool market is under heavy stress, with hundreds of free tools which are perfectly fine for UML since you cannot generate all that much useful stuff from the de-facto modeling language anyway. Some tools claim they do however, and therefore cost mucho, you'll need to fork-out a substantial budget. Then, according to a
Compuware-sponsored laboratory test (wow, must be very reliable) you could achieve a productivity increase of 35%. According to the Compuware marketing professionals this is a real "Landmark".

Funny that you do not see so many more of these studies isn't it? After all, MDA and UML are already so widely applied if you listen to the MDA tool vendors and OMG honcho's. Really, where are all the success stories of UML? Care to share one?

1 comment:

Petri I. Salonen said...

I could not agree more with your blog entry. It surprises me how the market pushes UML even if we all know that it is complex and that development teams have a hard time of learning it, deploying it and we all know that the tools will not generate anything useful (the vendors will claim they do). Thanks for the good statistics!