OOPSLA 2002 Workshop

Generative Techniques
in the context of
Model Driven Architecture


Will MDA Still Be Around In Five Years Time?

There are a number of similarities in the way MDA is being interpreted and implemented by the tool vendors in the industry, and the way CASE tools and 4GLs were positioned a decade earlier:

The boundary between integrated development environments and UML tools is blurred and starts to disappear. This may seem like a positive development, but most UML tools still force the user to deal with redundant information - models at the same level of abstraction as implementation language source code. In the absence of an agreed standard, tools with "MDA" capabilities come with their own interpretation of "Platform Independent Model", "Platform Specific Model" and their own techniques to specify model-to-model transformations or mappings between models and implementation. That means anyone who heavily invests into one of the current tools, ends up specifying transformations and mappings in a vendor dependent format.

Our Assessment

The era of expensive software development tools is long gone. The market already discards MDA tool-hype, and does not readily buy into MDA. On the other hand, domain-specific approaches and generator technology have a huge potential. The main problem is not one of tools - as some vendors would like people to think - but one of culture. Unless this is recognized, MDA will become the CASE of this decade. Today we are able to write generators nearly as easily as we can teach industrial robots to use a spray gun. No wonder that software developers don't suggest the use of generator technology to their employers. The only realistic way to gain widespread acceptance for the use of MDA-type approaches and generation tools is by addressing the related cultural issues, and by providing tools at a very low cost - so low that a CEO or CTO does not have to think twice. How about an open source-based project? While the tool vendors jockey for position and battle amongst themselves, an open source project may actually deliver results and become a de-facto MDA standard.

-- Jorn Bettin, Craig Cleaveland, Ghica van Emde Boas, Krzysztof Czarnecki

A Proposal for an Open Source Project to develop a Model-Driven Architecture Tool

We propose to develop a tool providing UML modeling facilities [including meta-modelling facilities as envisaged in UML 2.0] and a good template based code generation engine together with a suitable implementation of textures. Such a tool would provide a developer with significant advantages over current tools:

If you would like to contribute to this project, please download the proposal document for further details.

-- Ghica van Emde Boas
, Jorn Bettin


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