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Survey on future of Microsoft DSL Tools

May 09, 2007 14:16:14 +0300 (EEST)

This Don Smith post looks interesting:

I can't devulge too much detail yet, but some team in Microsoft might be in the middle of building some serious software factory infrastructure for a future version of Visual Studio - that's right, much better than GAX and DSL tools. Do you want it to suck? Do you think software factories are just a pipe dream and would rather they build something else?

Don wants to get feedback on the four "factories" they've released, and so they have a survey: 10 general questions, and 10 questions for each of the factories you've tried. The biggest question seems to be missing though, at least in my opinion and based on my experience of their tools so far:

  • Would you like your existing DSL Tools modeling languages and generators to keep on working?
  • Would you like to see major improvements in DSL Tools?
    (pick one of two :-) )

As long as Microsoft thing of building modeling languages as a programming project, it's going to be impossible for them to make the changes they need to, without breaking existing modeling languages built with their tools. If they have the possibility to make major improvements to DSL Tools, my suggestion would be to go right ahead: the important market is those who have not yet been reached. Those brave enough to use CTPs, betas and version 1.0 knew what they were letting themselves in for.

This is of course a problem with tools that require programming to build modeling languages, or a separate compilation step between the definition of the metamodel and using it to model with. In MetaEdit+, the metamodel is specified directly in the tool, with no programming, and models are made based directly on it, with no intermediate compilation. In other words, the metamodel is expressed as pure data, which makes both metamodel updates and tool updates easy and painless for the users.