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 Databse 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).

A key requirement for the project is to support
enormously large data models as well as huge data sets with arbitrary complexity. The task for us was to build a customized graphical editor for that DSL to design the data model and to navigate data structures.

Challenges, Results, and Advantages

  Customer Quote


  • The DSL editor needs to handle huge amounts of data quickly and reliably.
  • Modifications of the meta-model were inevitable during the development process of the editor.
  • Very tight deadline and budget.


  • Gentleware developed an easy-to-use, powerful, and scalable modeling tool, customized to the specific needs of the customer.
  • The DSL and the tool were developed in small increments and in close cooperation with the customer. The DSL evolved during the project.
  • Gentleware delivered on-time and on-budget.

Our customer provided a rough draft of the intended DSL notation for the data modeler as well as a draft of a meta-model and a specification for the DBMS.

We examined the meta-model and notation and optimized it in close cooperation with the customer to improve scalability and usability issues.

We then created a graphical editor - based on the EMF/GMF open source project - that meets the requirements of the customer as specified.


  • The editor is developed in short increments and the DSL notation can be extended during the process.
  • The user interface is quickly accessible to any user familiar with Eclipse.
  • Our experience and deep knowledge lead to performant and scalable solutions with an excellent UI.


"We were impressed with how quickly Gentleware provided us with a prototype. That allowed us to learn and extend our ideas very early on. That tremendously increased our trust into the project and our ability to plan the future road map. In the end we got a tool that is much better than we had anticipated at the beginning."

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