Monday, November 2, 2009

Less EMF!

This year's Eclipse summit was a great success, again. Before I start to chatter about the modeling technologies that I found most interesting, I'd like to point out that there also seems to be some sort of anti modeling coalition. It's clear that the public statement that "Modeling sucks!", without further reasoning, is more likely to create common hilarity than constructive engagement in the challenges and opportunities. A pity that I missed the Foundation 2.0 talk!

I noticed that others took the war against modeling and EMF in particular more seriously. There seems to be a whole industry concerned with devices that shield against EMF and the like. They are sold with the slogan "Less EMF", go figure:

Of course these attempts to discredit the value of modeling are doomed to failure, as the overwhelming interest in Eclipse modeling technologies at the past summit demonstrated. The tutorial about Advanced Programming Techniques with EMF and CDO was so overly crowded that the organizers had to take all tables out of the room and make place for almost 100 attendees.

At least the same amount of interested persons stayed in that room to participate in the discussions of the following modeling symposium. All the other talks (24 total) and BOFs about modeling had been extremely well attended, too. Some of them were of particular interest for me and the CDO Model Repository project:

  • The new EMF Model Query provides an SQL-like query language, cool (Xtext-based?) tooling and an extensible query orchestration and interpretation framework. The SAP team announced that an integration with the CDO server side is very interesting.

  • Frederic Jouault and Hugo Bruneliere compared Eclipse modeling and Microsoft Oslo technologies and had some ideas how to bridge the two worlds and transform artifacts between both. They mentioned that Oslo misses a model repository.

  • Cedric Brun demonstrated the Acceleo generator tooling and gave insights to the process of bringing this project into The tooling looked so comfortable that I thought I should give generative approaches a new chance in the CDO code itself.

  • Kenn Hussey and Raphael Faudougave a BOF and a talk on Papyrus, the new integrated modeling environment at These ones were really interesting because some large companies announced that they want to participate in a general initiative with the goal of providing a commercial quality modeling tool with various diagramming support, queries, refectorings and a lot more. CDO was seen in the center of this new architecture to provide client-side scalability, model storage and collaboration.

  • Markus Herrmannsdoerfer gave a talk that I awaited for a long time already. It was about the COPE framework that seems to do a great job to assist with model evolution (they call it adaptation) and the subsequent instance data migration. Very interesting stuff! Many CDO users have asked for more support in this area and it's clear that we need to provide solutions in a world of changing businesses.

  • Hajo Eichler demonstrated his ideas on executable models. And he did that very well. Last not least because he copied major parts of my own slides. Sure, he asked for my permission, but because he also changed the copyright to his own's Ed announced that we might send the police after him. Two minutes later we could hear their alarms from outside and he got really worried. Poor Hajo!

  • Goulwen Le Fur gave an introduction to the new Extended Editing Framework project which is about generating "sexy" properties sheets and possibly object data entry forms. I really hope that they add support for reflective models soon, so that we can use this cool technology in our CDO Explorer UI.

Today it's exactly one year ago that I startet blogging and since that time I was allowed to realize how much positive impact a little marketing can have on a technology like CDO. Some of my friends startet a private competition in finding modeling talks at the summit with no mention of CDO. Not an easy task ;-)

I realize that these days more and more modelers are interested in a model repository, either for using it as a runtime platform for their own products or for storing their design time models. I'm glad that we, the CDO team, have forseen this interest and for the future I hope that we can have even more collaboration and consolidation with other efforts in this area:

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on adding the cool features to CDO that you need!