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Model-Driven Software Development

Gentleware is a modeling tool manufacturer and expert service provider for model-driven software development. Our experience encompasses both the development of graphic editors and the development of code generators.

We base our model-driven software development on the Eclipse tool chain. This is essentially comprised of the EMF (Eclipse Modeling Framework) and GMF (Graphical Modeling Framework) frameworks for the production of graphic editors and oAW (openArchitectureWare) for model-to-model transformation and code generation.

We are certain that the Eclipse tool chain is the most efficient way to perform conversions with MDSD projects. As a result, we are able to realize high quality software projects for our customers at a low cost . We call that model to business.

The typical approach to MDSD projects is characterized by the following three steps:

1. DSL-Design

The abbreviation DSL stands for "Domain Specific Language". A Domain Specific Language is a formal language that covers specific domain concepts. It can be both textual and graphical. We have to this point specialized in graphical domain-specific languages.

DSL design is concerned with a formal representation of the knowledge domains.In this context, domains may constitute technical knowledge as well as software architecture. In the latter case, one speaks of architecture-centered MDSD.

Interviews and workshops with the domain experts are conducted to elaborate on the technical DSL concepts. The knowledge gained from these activities is represented in the form of a metamodel, which is in turn based on the Ecore metametamodel.

2. Model Editor in Eclipse

The model editor is developed on the basis of the Eclipse EMF and GMF frameworks - or more accurately, they are generated because GMF makes graphic editor generation from the functionality specification possible. Thanks to this quality of GMF, domain specific editors - in contrast to earlier times - can be developed very quickly today.

With our 6 years of experience in the development of graphic modeling tools (Poseidon for UML) in conjunction with our intensive engagement with the Eclipse frameworks, we are proven specialists in the "building" of qualitatively excellent graphic editors on the basis of GMF. Consequentially, we were able to bring a commercial modeling tool based on GMF, "Apollo for Eclipse", to the market as early as October 2006, and with that prove early on our expertise in the creation of domain-specific editors based on Eclipse GMF.

3. Generator in oAW

We use the open source generator framework openArchitectureWare as our generator. The mapping instructions for the model-to-model transformations as well as for the code generation are defined in this framework. Subsequently, the model, which was created previously with the DSL editor, can be transformed to another model or used to create code right way.

The originator of this generator is our parent company, b+m Informatik, who decided to make their original b+m Generator Framework open source in September 2003. Today, openArchitectureWare is the most successful and most powerful generator framework that is available at present. In the meantime, it is being further developed as an Eclipse project, which is a true accolade for any open source technology.

Of course, we and b+m are intensively working on the advancements as committers.

Further information about oAW is available here:

» http://www.eclipse.org/gmt/oaw/ =>
» http://www.openarchitectureware.com =>

User Story


Building a DSL editor for a large DBMS based on the EMF/GMF

Project Background

Our customer from the Life Sciences sector is building a new Database Management System (DBMS) for complex data structures such as the human genome or speech recognition. The data model for this DMBS is similar to onthologies and lends itself to be implemented as a domain specific language (DSL).

Read the full user story...

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