Report on Genexus Meeting 2009

After coming back to Valencia from Montevideo, I’ve found the time to organize my ideas and explain as promised what I saw there.

As commented before, my expectatives were exceeded. The Genexus Event organized by Artech has a great quality level: more than 3.600 participants, having more than 120 sessions in tree days. I’m impressed! These kinds of things are not improvised, and the organization did a wonderful job for the event. Congrats!

In this post I will comment about the things I saw and liked (specially sharing the links to the videos and abundant material) and about my, now, better understanding of the tool Genexus.

Note: There is a some of material with on-line translation to English, the rest is only in original version (Spanish).

The Event

Once finishing performing my MDD Session on Monday, I had free time to relax and follow the rest of the event and try to learn new things.

So, I wanted to know a bit about the Microsft vision of the Cloud and followed:

Eugenio Pace in action.

Eugenio Pace in action.

Both of them provide a good overview about the factors to have in mind in order to use this computing paradigm and how Microsoft is preparing its cloud platform called Azure.

Another interesting block for me was the RIA & Javascript sessions:

In there, I found a good review about the pros & cons of current RIA platforms (Flex, Silverligth & AJAX) and the incoming new features of HTML 5. Alejandro made a special focus on how the code generators can be modularized to change parts in them to help changing the output architecture of your RIA application. It is totally sensible to do it in that way to promote reuse.

Alejandro Paniza (Artech) talk about “REST Webservices” and its usage related to code generation.

I met also Nicolas Jodal (Artech) and enjoyed with the rest of the participants in his great Keynote “It’s in our nature…” Nicolas argued about the human nature, the kind of thinks we instinctively do: mimic success, solve problems, communicate & share, belief in models… and how the technologies that exploit such human features tend to have more successes that other that don’t. Very inspiring talk!

On the softskills side, Jose Lamas (Artech) talked about “How to achieve quality discussions”. A nice and practical one, I’m going to put in practice as soon as possible.

On Tuesday, Juan Matteo (a.k.a. Nicolas Jodas again) talk about “Universal Data Models” to introduce alternatives to traditional relational databases in order to change the focus from rows to columns; from entities to attributes and relations. The performance of course of such change is not good for a general replacement of RDBMs, but for small sets of data, it can be quite productive to work in such a way and obtaining benefits like versioning, easy link exploration and on-demand extensibility.

One of the new features in “Genexus X Evolution 1” is the new generator targeting Ruby. Daniel Mendez & Sabrina Juarez (Artech) showed that work.

On Wednesday, Gaston Milano (Artech) reviewed the “Genexus Language Evolution” and the future plans to improve the language: introducing scalability thought modularization and improving the user interface specification in Genexus.

Angel Mahlers Orchestra

Angel Mahler's Orchestra

On the closing session, a very funny and enjoyable session was the following one: “When a team sounds good” by Angel Mahler. Here a band played several themes from movie soundtracks making emphasis on how an aligned collective work (team work) can achieve better results that the sum of individual ones (the so called an often abused term of sinergy). Nice perform!

Finally Breogán Gonda closed the Event with his keynote. I remember some quotes from him I liked showing his attitude and strong commitment:

  • He recognizes that the first event (19 years ago) was created to talk with customers and acknowledge a problem they were suffering in such days. Just to acknowledge it and say they were working in the solution.
  • Nowadays, he can’t promise that they will not be problems in the future, nobody can. But, on the other hand, he promise to continue working in the solutions with the customers, openly, as a real community. That’s the attitude I like!

The product

Certainly, I travelled to Montevideo with an unclear view of Genexus. I have never worked with it: It’s object oriented, UML oriented? It’s MDD? Fortunately, I came back with a better understanding of their approach.

Genexus is based on the specification of the conceptual data modeling and takes the assumption of given unique names to such business concepts such CustomerSurname or TotalInvoice. Under the curtains, a Prolog engine (a rule based ones) derives the final data model, the database to SQL. After this definition, Genexus provides different DSL to specify business logic, workflow, user interfaces, etc. A plus is that such specification is not dependent of the dababase structure, so it is easily retargetable and moreover re-normalizable.

One of the more impressive features of Genexus, impressive just because is something you don’t find in other modeling products, is the real Schema Evolution included out of the box: You can define your model, generate it, populate it and go life (go to production). Later on, you can change your model in a way it changes your data model and forces a reorganization of the database. In such scenario, when you regenerate again your application, a set of DB scripts are also generated and apply to move your living data to your new application version. That’s cool and not easy!

Of course, everything is abstracted away from the technology, making easy to generate to different platforms such as Cobol, AS400, Java, C#, Ruby, code for the cloud (Azure), to cite a few.

As commented by Artech staff, they need to work for improve the scalability of the tool for working with big projects and introduce better and easier User Interface specification.

Genexus is not UML, it has no Class Diagram, neither a Sequence Diagram. Don’t search for XMI or MDA profiles. Just because Genexus don’t need it.

It’s simply a different approach but it’s real MDD. As real as it has 20 years in the market.

Congratulations to the Artech team!

Keep going with the good work and demonstrating that code generation is the way to go in Software Development!


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  2. Nice post Pedro.

    I will continue with my Spanish and maybe make it over one year…

  3. Thx Mark!
    ¡Ánimo con el español!
    A good way to improve it is to visit Spain and practice a little. You know that a paella is awaiting for you in Valencia.

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