Graphical languages – semantics vs syntax

Recent postings have talked about “semantics” of graphical languages.  When I was involved in UML development this word caused a lot of argument and confusion.  In my view, it goes like this.   A graphical language has three primary aspects: concrete syntax, abstract syntax, and semantics.  Concrete syntax (notation) defines what the language actually looks…


New places to look

The latest installment of our DSL tools is available for download here.   Jochen Seemann announces it here.   Jack Greenfield has started blogging here.    


UML Semantics

Grady has blogged about Microsoft’s position on UML.  His article is a masterpiece of technopolitical spin.  He says Microsoft “rejects UML”, and of course we don’t; as my colleague Alan Cameron Wills says, “we don’t want to limit ourselves to UML as a basis for our users’ domain specific languages”.  We support UML in our…


Keeping the baby in the bath

Xactium’s Andy Evans has written an interesting article on Language Driven Development in David Frankel’s MDA Journal.  In it there’s a paragraph directed at me:   In [2] it has been proposed that domain-specific languages have specific advantages over traditional style MDA PIM to PSM transformations. DSLs aim to provide targeted domain-specific modeling concepts, which…


Language Gaps

The next big step for software development is “Language Engineering”.  As well as our own work on software factories, you can see this awareness emerging in other places eg this recent post by Martin Fowler.   What do I mean by Language? – look at Alan Wills’ blog entry.  Those things.   I was reminded…


Domain Specific Languages and UML

My colleague Alan Cameron Wills makes several excellent points about why not to base domain specific languages on UML.  I hope Grady Booch reads this.  There really is very little common semantic ground between a conveyer belt and anything in UML.


Dynamic Stability and Mass Customization

Today I am preparing for a couple of talks about Software Factories that I am giving later in the month to groups of architects in France and Germany.  I’m reminded of some material which I often go back to that I discovered about 10 years ago when I joined IBM and we were working out…


Business Capabilities and Software Factories

Keith Short’s blog has a report on some of our team’s experiences at OOPSLA this year.  I’m back in the UK now, recovering from the jetlag.   One aspect of our Software Factories tutorial which I think was particularly interesting was the use of Business Capabilities to scope the requirements for a software system.  Over…


Eventful times at OOPSLA

Today at OOPSLA I participated in a panel session about MDA.  We had an interesting debate about what MDA actually is.  I suggested that MDA proponents fall into the following three camps.   1. The UML PIM camp: MDA involves the use of UML to build Platform Independent Models (PIMs) which are transformed into Platform…


Software Factories and Packages

I read Alan Wills’ blog about his domain-specific languages tutorial at UML 2004, and it reminded me of some thoughts I had about the difference between a Software Factory and a Package.   A Package is a chunk of software that is designed to encompass a set of situations within a domain.  There are mechanisms…