Next Release of DSL Tools

Now we've got the March release out of the door, I'm sure folks are going to ask soon what's in the next release and when to expect it.

First the 'when' bit. As Harry Pierson has already indicated, we expect the when to be shortly after VS2005 Beta2 is released, where 'shortly after' = a small number of weeks. At this point we'll be moving from VS2005 Beta1 to VS2005 Beta2.

Now the 'what'. We're focusing on two feature areas next release (at least that's the plan, usual disclaimers apply):

  • Improvements to the template-based code/text generation framework, including a richer syntax allowing you to do richer things.
  • Better support for containment hirearchies, through (a) compartment shapes (nearly everyone we've talked to has asked for this) and (b) a richer experience in the explorer and properties grid, including the ability to create elements through the explorer.

The above should mean that users will be far less restricted than they are at present in the kindof designer they can build.

We're also making an investment on quality in this cycle, ramping up the automated testing & fixing a whole swathe of bugs.

And after the next release?

Well, here are some of the features in the pipeline: richer notations, constraints and validation, a proper treatment of serialization in XML (see this entry from Gareth), better hooks for code customization of generated designers, deployment of designers to other machines, multiple diagrams viewing a model,  better hooks for writing your own tools to consume model data (as explained in this post), ...

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