Posts tagged “Code Generation”.

CG2012 Summary, day 3

CG2012 Summary, (part III)

This is the last post in my series of summaries of the Code Generation 2012 conference. After having reviewed the LWC day and days one and two, this third and last day concludes my personal report. Some of you will remember my intense tweeting in such days under the hashtag #cg2012, but I had a good reason: such tweets help me document the event and log the activities, which actually makes the process of writing these summaries possible. So, let’s stop meta-posting and dive into the content of the day D.

Friday 30th, day 3

The last day of the conference started with the keynote “Speed and Innovation through Architecture” by Jan Bosch (@JanBosch). This was very provocative in that it addressed MDSD and Software Architecture within the context of innovation in industrial contexts and presented it from a business perspective: opposite but complementary to the technical content that usually drives a CG session. Jan supported his talk with examples drawn from Nokia, Siemens, and other companies he is either currently working with or worked with prior to his current academic position.

Some of the pearls (argued by the audience in twitter latter) in his talk were:

  • The market is moving from products to services
  • The need for the speed: R&D departments should have very short innovation cycles. Speed is the primary feature to achieve. (Time to Market)
  • Moving faster: no efficiency improvement will outperform cycle time reduction.
  • Traditional SW development does not scale. We need to change the way we create SW.
  • Amazon releases new software every 11 seconds…
  • R&D as an Experiment System
  • Decisions should be based on DATA, not opinions
  • Learning: the company running the most experiments against the lowest cost per experiment wins
  • There are things you can’t predict until you perform tests
  • Lean and Agile as Scale: as a dancing elephant (see the photo in the slides)


Some tweets reactions about it:

  • @delphinocons: Reducing dev. cycle time is 10x more beneficial than improving dev. efficiency I can see him build the case for MD(S)D from here. #cg2012
  • @tvdstorm: No more heavy process. This is going the way of the dinosaurs. @JanBosch #cg2012
  • @stevekmcc: @JanBosch 10% more revenue vs. 10% less dev costs (“efficiency”) assumes rest of org has zero incremental cost & demand is infinite #cg2012
  • @delphinocons Amazon releases new software every 11 seconds… wow. @JanBosch @ #cg2012
  • @pmolinam  “Learning: the company running the most experiments against the lowest cost per experiment wins” @janbosch #cg2012 #innovation –> Google
  • @tvdstorm: @JanBosch’s keynote: crowd sourcing the scientific method at a very high speed. Continuous integration -> deployment -> AB testing. #cg2012
  • @pmolinam Arquitecture goals accordingly to @janbosch Simplify, Decoupling, Lean and agile at scale, End to end quality, fight design erosion #cg2012
  • @pmolinam “Interconnected teams and organizations asymptotically reduce productivity to zero” -> Twitter? @janbosch #cg2012 #innovation
  • @pmolinam Decoupling: NO versions! only the deployed one! @janbosch #cg2012 #innovation <- Hard to achieve out of the web
  • @pmolinam Very great keynote! by @janbosch #cg2012 #innovation very inspiring and totally on-topic.
  • Great slide @janbosch #cg2012 implication http://t.co/OBiSKfjZ
  • @MarkDalgarno: Every engineer at @intuit spends at least 1 day a year with a consumer seeing how their products are used in practice. @janbosch at #cg2012

As commented, this was a great keynote with respect to rethinking the role of MDSD within business organizations and how MDSD is still a great and undiscovered lever to drive innovation inside a company from within the IT and R&D departments. Dear CIOs, take note.

After the keynote, time for a quick coffee and I move quickly to prepare my session on “Multichannel User Interfaces”

In this session, I presented some issues we are working on at Icinetic. When developing a new service or product, UIs are expensive to develop if you have to offer the service in the leading edge mobile platform. The market is fragmented and thus provides several competing platforms and technologies with which to build a UI: XAML/C#, JavaFX/Java, Android, Objective-C/Cocoa, HTML5/Javascript with a JS framework, etc. The technology is changing quite fast and there is an open war to determine who will dominate the mobility space. Developing for any platform’s target UI technologies is neither cheap nor maintainable; is well: they don’t scale. It is in this context where Modeling device independent User Interfaces makes complete sense for business software. I demonstrated one of the prototypes we are building — called Oz UI — which utilizes my work on conceptual user interface patterns and is able to declaratively specify and prototype the UI then generate an implementation based upon any of a set of different widget technologies.

I got a very good feedback from the audience and feel that there is space for creating new tools in this domain that further alleviate the effort required by developers to work within the plumbing present in every development framework.

After the session and with the feeling of work completed, it was time for lunch and relaxation.

My last technical session was: tercnoC xatnyS srettaM (Concrete Syntax Matters) by Steven Kelly. The superbly selected title speaks for itself: when designing a new language there are many considerations to be taken into account in order to make the language pleasant for your users. Usability, concreteness, unambiguity, homogeneity, human perception of colors, forms and text are all relevant when addressing the design of a new language. The success of your language — measured in number of users — will be influenced greatly by these choices. See Steven in action.

Following our last coffee/orange-juice break, we all moved to the closing session: a panel discussion on “Code Generation – how far have we come in 5 years?”, lead by Andrew Watson, who introduced the topic and the panelists: Wim Bast, Steven Kelly, Darius Silingas, and Markus Völter.

Some ideas that were discussed:

  • MDSD Commoditization
  • Moving from a technical discourse to the necessary business discourse
  • The complexity of SW is ever growing; MDSD helps manage the complexity

Some interesting tweets about the panel supporting it:

  • @lmontrieux: Final panel session begins at code generation #cg2012 http://t.co/ffQOqyQ6
  • @delphinocons: Wim Bast: competing DSLs and LWBs is good for innovation, but bringing MD(S)D to the market requires commodity as well. #cg2012 closingpanel
  • @pmolinam @CompSciFact “Before you can design a good DSL, you have to understand the D.” On-topic for #cg2012
  • @tvdstorm: Need: live prototyping environments to be able to try out many different designs. Modeling needs immediacy, liveness and directness. #cg2012
  • @delphinocons Wim Bast/Darius Silingas: we have to avoid focusing too much on the technical side in favor of the business benefits of MDSD. Agree! #cg2012
  • @pmolinam On SoC and abstractions in DSLs #cg2012 Panel
  • @stevekmcc We are building the complex systems as ever. DSL helps in this race. #cg2012

Summing up

Finally, I present my personal conclusions on the State of the Art in MDSD based on what I have seen at CG2012:

  1. Two main lines of work have arisen in MDSD seen this year:
    • Bottom-up using a low-level general language and adding extensions that raise the abstraction level (eg.: mbeddr over C or Webr-DNQ over Java) for a specific purpose (domain), and
    • Top-down using a high-level DSL/language with a specific, targeted level of abstraction in order to describe a domain (hiding technology details and other concerns) upon which code generation is applied (samples: Radarc, IFML, MetaEdit+).
  2. More effort is needed to explain ROI for potential MDSD consumers (customers).
  3. Increasing complexity and diversity (mobile) in technology pushes the market ever closer to MDSD (as there are no other choices).
  4. Technology independence (one of the foremost qualities of systems developed via MDSD) provides even greater value when technology is undergoing rapid advances (see the mobile arena for example).
  5. Some MDSD technologies are powerful yet also rather complex; more work is required to simplify their presentation in order to increase user adoption.
  6. User Interface modeling is gaining momentum this year (with at least four sessions), that being a great and challenging DSL domain.
  7. The cloud provides opportunities for applying MDSD; this context already showing adoption in transparent infrastructure (see Mendix for a sample), deployment and configuration (cloud operation).
  8. Multi-core CPUs provide opportunities for executing DSL specs with efficient parallel processing.


As always, CG2012 was a great opportunity to take the pulse of the MDSD community, providing a good overview of the current problems and areas of research. If you want to get in the loop don’t miss the next edition — join us in 2013.

I want to thank the work of Robert McCall. He contacted me and volunteered for polishing my sometimes rusty English and making the full text more readable.

CG2012 Summary, day 2

CG2012 Summary (part II)

After reviewing LWC2012 and CG2012 day 1, let’s continue with day 2.

Day 2, Thursday 29th

The morning started with the first keynote. Markus Völter led the session with the title “Domain-Specific Language Design – A conceptual framework for building good DSLs”.  Here Markus deep down with an ontology approach, reviewing the dimensions of DSL Design: covering nine topics: expressivity, coverage, semantics, separation of concerns, completeness, paradigms, modularity, concrete syntax & process. In the session, he focused mainly on expressivity, semantics, modularity and concrete syntax. I found specially interesting the dissection of types of language extension and composition providing detailed samples in each case. In summary, good and quality stuff as Markus used to deliver. As commented by Markus, this material will be published as a book “DSL Engineering” at the early 2013.

After the coffee break, I entered the Peter Friese’s tutorial on “Traditional and Model-Driven Approaches for Cross-Platform Mobile Development”. Peter demonstrated a very good knowledge of the mobility space presenting nor one or two alternatives but six (6) ways of developing cross-platform mobile applications considering pros and cons. Great talk covering native development (showing iPhone, Android and WP7), HTML5 and JavaScript frameworks like Sencha or jQueryMobile reviewing cross tools like phoneGap. It was a pity that the Wifi connectivity were failing and interrupted in some moments the flow of the demo, but Peter was able to overcome it and show what’s going on.

User Interfaces are always interesting to me so: Achim Demelt session’s was a must see session or me. “Mission: Impossible — Purely declarative User Interface Modeling”.

The session was very good. The slides are not enough, the accompanying demo shown the tool at work. Achim and his team created Silverlight based UIs using a Java back-end. The S4 environment presented is agile enough to model and generate UIs for the ERP domain Achim was targeting.

Next session for me was for the Jetbrains’s guys Maxim Mazin and Evgenii Schepotiev with the talk “Webr-DNQ — web application development with pleasure”.  They show the language extensions Jetbrains has designed over Java using MPS  to build in-house products like YouTrack. This is a very clear sample of the quote: eat your own dog food.

After a coffee, and back to action to a very different session: Steven Kelly lead the hands-on session titled “Have your language built while you wait”. Here some of us creating Language Workbenches where placed in a room with our laptops waiting for customers. During rounds of 25 minutes we were attending them showing the capabilities of each tool and solving a concrete and practical small problem proposed by the customer. 15 master craftsmen, representing 11 top language workbench tools, volunteered their time to build languages for participants’ domains. It was a very interesting format because it not only allows people to try new tools, but also to promote cross polinization between tool makers. From mi side I was there showing Essential and also have the chance to play a little with The Whole Platform with Riccardo Solmi and Enrico Persiani and take a closer look to Ensō with Alex Loh.

Steve prepared a good summary on this session (take a look for the details on each tools). I borrow here the video here :-).

 

So far, so good! Another day full of code generation, but the dessert was still missing.

This year CG2012 changed the relaxing punting trip on the river Cam in favor of a conference called “How Apollo we flew to the moon” by David Woods. The result: totally amazing! This guy presented us all a brief but detailed introduction to the Apollo systems and navigation procedures and then deep down on the specific problems on the Apollo XI, the mission where Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins engraved theirs names in the history.

Given the audience, David make special emphasis on the computer devices on board in the Apollo missions. Totally amazing the rudimentary technology used was good enough to fly to the moon and come back! Q&A delivered may geek questions about the Apollo mission that David responded with flying colors to impress even more the audience.

So I couldn’t resist, and bought my copy of his book and got it autographed by David (I was not the only one BTW). A good reading for sure, if you like space and/or engineering.

Radarc 3.0 Released!

The arrival to my new job in Sevilla has coincided with the preparations and launch of a new product. We at Icinetic, are releasing Radarc 3.0. Radarc is a very easy to use code generator highly integrated with Visual Studio and targeting .NET technologies.

Radarc has the ability produce multiple architectures using the same base models and keeping in-sync generated artifacts when model element changes. Architectures and DSLs for defining the models are packaged in so called “Formulas”.

Currently, the following formulas are available for download and it is free for non-commercial usage:

  • ASP.NET Web Forms + Entity Framework
  • ASP.NET MVC 3.0 + Entity Framework
  • ASP.NET MVC 3.0 + Entity Framework + Azure Storage & deployment
  • Windows Phone 7
Radarc creates a complete prototyping application in seconds following the cycle: change the model, touch no line of code, build and run. Prototyping an application is a question of minutes, and obtain a first scaffolding of your application. Moreover, custom code can be inserted in specially designed locations that will be preserved in every regeneration lap.

Radarc 3.0 is available with three licensing models and its free for non-commercial usage.

Other technologies are available on demand, such as:

  • .NET 4.0 Domain Driven Design N-Layered Architecture
  • NHibernate & more to come…
Some cases of usage:
  • If you work in a .NET development shop, feel free to give it a try and give us some feedback.
  • On the other hand, if you want to start learning one of the previous technologies or architectures, you can use also Radarc to generate a reference sample application and start exploring the code.
  • If you are a experienced software architect and needs to evaluate SW architectures to benchmark them before choosing a winner arch for your project, think about the cheap possibility of generate the same application in two technologies and test how well performs for your specfic problem.
These days, I am learning a lot about the state of art here at Icinetic and I hope to start contributing to the bits very, very soon.
Bonus extra: a 20 minutes demo video (in Spanish) generating three architectures is available.
Next week we will be attending Code Generation 2012. If you are interested, join us and see a live demo or download it and give it a try!

Code Generation 2012

CG 2012 logo

Times fly! Code Generation 2012 is only two weeks ahead.

During the latest’s weeks we have been very busy combining day to day work with the preparation of material for the conference.

This year the conference will be held from 28th till 30th of March, in the habitual place: Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, UK.

The programme this year comes with some interesting sessions. I want to highlight some of them:

From my side, and once established in Seville, I will join the conference with some of my Icinetic colleagues. The activities we will be involved include:

As every year, looking forward to join and meet again with the CG community. See you there, guys!

¡Hola Sevilla!

Plaza de España, Sevilla (By CCSA Tom Raftery)

 

Model Driven Development is one of my favourite research topics. That’s why when the Icinetic guys contacted and offer me to join them to work together I had few arguments to resist the temptation and enroll.

Therefore, today I’m moving to Sevilla, in the south of Spain, to start a new phase of my life to work as the Chief Research Officer. Icinetic is an young MDD tool-maker and consultancy company.

I am quite excited to have the chance, the tools and the right team (both with the required business vision and the technical background) to focus on innovation and to create cool MDD & code generation tools.

We are going to enjoy it, for sure!

Essential on Alt.Net Hispano

The Alt.NET Hispano group has published my VAN about Code generation with Essential. The recording was done in Spanish.

La comunidad Alt.NET Hispano ha publicado la VAN (desconferencia) sobre Generación de código con Essential que tuvimos el pasado dia 11 de junio. Si estás interesado en MDD, generación de código y como aplicarlo con Essential, este video grabado para la comunidad en español es un buen punto de partida.

Mi agradecimiento a Alt.NET Hispano por el interés en la materia y la invitación a divulgarlo.

Descarga directa del video (562 Mb).

 

More… »

Code Generation 2011: a personal review

Once again, back home after the most exciting till date edition of the Code Generation conference in the latest years. The co-allocation of the Language Workbenches Competition has been a great incentive to attract all of us to join and present alternatives to a great challenge in the domain of modeling and code generation.

In this long post, I want to share my personal view about these days, and for sure, take note it could be partial and subjective. So, be kind to review also the comments as seen by others like Johan den Haan, Markus Völter, Angelo Hulshout, Marco Bambrilla, or Mariot Chauvin to cite a few and more expected to come. Find the majority of the pointers at the http://modeldrivensoftware.net

In this edition, the conference has been deeply covered via twitter using #cg2011 and #lwc11

As expected, I will be only be able to comment about the sessions I personally have attended. Running three tracks in parallel always force us to choose one and miss two other great sessions.

More… »

First public Essential 0.4.44 Beta!

Essential Logo

The Code Generation 2011 conference and the Language Workbenches Competition 2011 Workshop are quite close in the calendar.

I want to celebrate it with the MDD community sharing my work on Essential (a tool designed for acquiring speed with Model Driven Development). On 11th may 2011, version 0.4.44 has been released as the first public beta.

Essential is a meta-modeling and code generation tool providing specific DSLs to define and consume:

  • Metamodels
  • Models
  • Templates (using StringTemplate) &
  • Transformations (Model2Text and Model2Model)
With a strong emphasis on model interpretation, prototyping a code generation can be done in an agile way without the need of generating any infrastructure boilerplate or meta-editor plumbling accessories.
The main goals of the tools is to enable software architects to:
  • Prototyping software directly from models in a unexpensive way
  • Evolve theirs software architectures as fast as possible experimenting with design choices
  • Benchmarking and comparing architectures
  • Code generation
For all of you interested in, feel free to try it, enjoy and provide feedback.

Try it also with the sample projects created for the LWC 2011 challenge.

LWC2011 list of participants disclosed

Angelo Hulshout has disclosed the list of participants taking part in the first Language Workbenches Competition to be organized on May 24th, at Cambrigde, UK. Just before the Code Generation annual conference.

Finally, I will also be there presenting Essential as a solution to the challenge. It’s a nice excuse to go there, just in case! 🙂

Now I can hear in the background the sound of knives being sharpened, nevertheless with an Olympic spirit. }:)

If you want to see the State of the Art of the next generation Software Engineering tools in action, don’t miss the opportunity and join us. See you there!

StringTemplate: a great template engine for code generation

Paper Templates, licensed CC Attribution by Edinburgh City of Print

When building a new tool for modelling and code generation like Essential, one has to rethink again what template engine use to drive all the machinery. In code generation contexts, template engines are a good field for innovation and your choice will be with you probably for the full lifetime of your tool.

In this post, I will try to introduce and explain why StringTemplate is a superb engine for doing code generation and why you should consider it if dealing with a code generation scenario. More… »