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Perhaps the most compelling reason to leverage the Modeling project as a DSL Toolkit is related to the development of software product lines Using the Modeling project to develop custom DSL tooling still requires significant effort, so the most likely scenario for adoption is to produce a series of products, each with a set of defined variation points Using the facilities of the Modeling project to produce a one-off custom DSL-based application is significantly easier today than it was just a few years ago However, the effort required to design a DSL, author transformations and templates, and so on yields a greater return when a product line is produced Much has been written on the subject of product line engineering, feature models [39], and the related concept of software factories [40] The sample applications developed in this book represent a simplistic example of how a series of models is used to define various aspects of the software requirements domain The process and tooling needed for software requirements largely depend on the methodology a team uses for development, so requirements solutions need to be quite flexible Traditionally, this has meant providing
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CHAPTER 1 Introduction
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tooling with extensibility points and open application programming interfaces (APIs), which typically were not powerful enough or stable enough to meet a wide range of customer requests Instead of developing large, complex APIs for client customization needs, consider the alternative approach of software factories Give your clients, or perhaps your services organization, a core set of models, transformations, and codegeneration templates to target a stable underlying application framework such as Eclipse or Java EE Developing the domain models to suit clients or, in the case of the sample applications here, the process methodology used means that the application delivered is designed up front to meet their needs Selecting variation points is complemented by customizing the underlying generation facilities to provide the required functionality In the case of a true product line, in which the functionality is largely the same from client to client, the richness of the generator improves over time to the point that setting top-level parameters (instead of low-level framework modifications) achieves greater customization This is where the promise of model-driven software development lies: a reduced cost of application development through domain-specific models or generative techniques Today there s still a long way to go before this vision can be realized This book focuses on what is available today and, specifically, what is available to enable DSL development using the Eclipse Modeling Project, which we cover next
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15 The Eclipse Modeling Project
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The Eclipse Modeling Project is a relatively new top-level project at Eclipse In contrast, the core of the project, EMF, has been in existence for as long as the Eclipse platform itself Today the Modeling project is largely a collection of projects related to modeling and MDSD technologies This collection was formed to coordinate and focus model-driven software development capabilities within Eclipse The introduction of the Amalgamation project ushered in the beginnings of a DSL-focused development environment, although it has a long way to go before mainstream developers can use it Documentation certainly lags behind implementation within Modeling hence, the need for this book The Modeling project is organized logically into projects that provide the following capabilities: abstract syntax development, concrete syntax development, model-to-model transformation, and model-to-text transformation A single project, the Model Development Tools (MDT) project, is dedicated to the support of industry-standard models Another project within the Modeling project focuses on research in generative modeling technologies These are outside the scope of this book, except where explicitly referenced
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15 The Eclipse Modeling Project
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Figure 1-1 is an image originally proposed as the logo for the Modeling project A better logo was contributed by Gen Nishimura, but this image gives a sense of the structure of the modeling project and its functional areas As you can see, EMF is at the center, providing abstract syntax-development capabilities EMF Query, Validation, and Transformation complement the EMF core functionality, as do Teneo and CDO for database persistence of model instances Surrounding the abstract syntax-development components are model-transformation technologies, both model-to-text (Java Emitter Templates [JET] and Xpand) and model-to-model (QVT and ATL) Beyond those lie concrete syntax development: GMF used for graphical representation and Textual Modeling Framework (TMF) used for textual representation of models Finally, a series of orbiting projects and components represent models, capabilities, and research initiatives available from the Modeling project
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