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galileo Finally, another annual release of Eclipse has arrived: version 3.5 aka Galileo.
Galileo is the release of Eclipse IDE synchronized with packets tuned for the Galileo release. Eclipse IDE has moved on from being a sole and mere development environment to being a rich architecture. Often, this is not visible to the novice user.

Galileo, or the JDT (Java Development Tools) to be more precisely, does not surprise with a load of stunning new features, instead, its a solid continuation of improvements. Concerning the JDT part, it has lost its pace of former days. But Eclipse JDT still is the reliable friend at your side, helping you code. This is a good thing, since Eclipse has been the IDE of choice for many, many Java programmers for a lot of years now and has grown to something like a “standard”. Its usability and reliability are well known and especially the first part has been constantly improved.

Galileo now draws its innovative power from the huge amount of different projects which were developed for it. The amount of tools for modeling is impressive. However it is not surprising, since modeling has become a sport in the past month. Consequently, it is bare logic to improve the tooling capabilities and quality. Galileo is following this path, not only because of Eclipse, but with what is available for it.

Code is poetry!

On the 10th of November it was time again: an Eclipse Demo Camp took place in the East Hotel in Hamburg, Germany. This time, the Demo Camp was sponsored by Itemis, it-agile, froglic and of course the Eclipse Foundation. The organisators of the evening were Peter Friese (Itemis) and Martin Lippert (it-agile) who intruduced the presenters.

Harald Wellmann of Innovative Systems GmbH (Harman/Becker Automotive Systems) talked about “Europe on a Disk – Geoprocessing for Car Navigation Systems”. He talked about their usage of Eclipse and OSGi to build the map compiler on top of these and explained different benefits and drawbacks in using this technology. Additionally, he talked about Jump and uDig which is used for displaying maps in the Eclipse Map Processing Toolkit. Apart from the technical point of view, the talk gave an interesting little insight how the maps for our beloved navigational systems are created.

The second talk was given by Gerd Wütherich ( independant consultant) and was about “Spring Dynamic Modules for OSGi Service Platforms”. He demostrated how to use Spring in order to harness the power of OSGis dynamic Java lifecycle in enterprise applications. While presenting he showed some small demos. In his order service example, two persistence services were available and one went “offline”, so the other one jumped in to take over. Once the second service went down too, the application was waiting (with a timeout) until some persistence service was available. As a “a world in a nutshell” this was a great demo of how to use dynamic modules.

After the second talk was a little break with italian food. (Which I did not try, so I will not comment on it, but it looked delicious.)

Miguel Garcia ( TUHH) and Rakesh Prithiviraj were talking about “Rethinking the Architecture of Java ORM in terms of LINQ”. This session basically covered a “what we (Java developers) could learn from .NET” features. As far as I understood, LINQ (Language INtegrated Query) is a query which is translated to a query for a specific natural datasource. Visualö Studio seems to provide good support for these kind of queries including content assist. Java on the other hand seems to struggle to provide as good support. The talk covered ideas of how to get at least close, if not catch up. I honestly do not understand, why such a innovative mechanism as LINQ was not introduced in Java much earlier? ( Slides of the two)

The last talk was given by Stephan Herrmann ( TU Berlin) discussed “Plugin reuse and adaptation with Object Teams: Don’t settle for a compromise!”. This was basically an intruduction to Object Teams, a language extension to Java, which was developed over the past seven-eight years at the TU Berlin. This extension does not only cover the fundamental aspects but supports the complete Eclipse tool support: content assist, debugger and finally, compiler. Object Teams provides something, which Stephan explained as inheritence on object level (instead on on the class level). It provides the ability to modify objects (especially class instances, not classes!) with additional behavior. So, it is possible to adapt classes to change their runtime behavior with so-called Role Classes. On method level, the roles can be applied in a call-in or call-out fashion, depending on when they have to be invoked. From the point of view of software engineering and language design this was a very interesting talk. (For more information refer to ObjectTeams, Slides are online at Slides).

And after the end of this talk, 23:00h had passed (we started at 19:00 o’clock). However, seeing many familiar faces and having a pleasant conversation, together with great presentations made it worth staying up late.

On October 15th to 17th the Workshop on MDSD Today 2008 took place in the Nordakademie Elmshorn near Hamburg. This workshop was actually the sequel to two different workshops which were led by Frank Zimmermann (Nordakademie) and Simon Zambrovski (TUHH) the year before. For this years event, Peter Friese (Itemis) from Itemis joined the two for organizing the Workshop.


The workshop was divided into three parts: Day 1: Management Day, Day 2: Professional Day (Modeling Projects and Tutorials) and Day 3: Professional Day (Generator Tutorials). (See also MDSD08).

Ed MerksAxel UhlRalf Mueller

The first day was dominated by excellent key-note speeches given by the EMF lead Ed Merks Ph.D. and SAPs Dr. Axel Uhl. Ed was talking about misconceptions in understanding and applying model driven techniques. Axel on the other hand talked about the challenges that still lay on our way and need to be overcome. He discussed for example the different benefits and drawbacks of using different sorts of DSL (e.g. non-textual / textual) with respect to storing them in repositories, merging and refactoring (i.e. general tool-support). Birger Garbe and Stefan Reichert (both Lufthansa Systems consultants) talked about their experiences in applying MDSD in the field. Chances and riscs were explained and how they managed to overcome those riscs. Thomas Stahl of b+m Informatik gave a talk about how MDSD, BPM and SOA fit together, unfortunately he couldn’t give is planned speech “Experiences of 10 years of MDSD”. As one of the authors of the model-driven software development book and with the experience background he has, this would be have been clearly very interesting. The speech he gave instead was also interesting but took little different directions.

The second day was filled with two different tracks one could attend. One covered contributions coming from the fields of research and the industry. And in the other one Ed Merks gave an intro to the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF). After that, Ralf Möller of the Eclipse Foundation talked about innovation networks. The afternoon was filled with a tutorial on how to generate graphical editors using the GMF. The tutorial was given by Robert Wloch who jumped in for Jan Köhnlein (both itemis) who unfortunately got sick.

The third and last day was filled with a tutorial on xText, which was given by Peter Friese and Sven Efftinge (both itemis). Later Arno Haase (independant consultant) tought the audience how to do model-to-model and model-to-code transformations.


Summing up this was a very, very interesting event where the cremé dé la cremé of MDSD gathered and where people had the chance to ask, learn and get to know each other. Not only the speeches and tutorials were very interesting, funny but the overall event had socially a nice friendly touch. Some further pictures can be found in the FlickR gallaery.

The Workshop Proceedings can be obtained at amazon:
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on MDSD Today 2008 (engl.)

Ed Merks new book will be published sometime in the beginning of 2009, here is a link to the “old” (but still good) one:

Eclipse Modeling Framework (engl.)

Also I would like to mention the book by Arno Haase, Markus Völter, Thomas Stahl, Sven Efftinge:

Modellgetriebene Softwareentwicklung ( english version)

On June 16th another Eclipse Demo Camp took place in Hamburg. Organized by Peter Friese of itemis and Martin Lippert of it-agile, Eclipse enthusiasts and presenters met in a former coffee exchange in the harbor of Hamburg, the so called “Hafencity”.

Eclipse Demo Camp

The evening started with an interesting preview of Xtext 2.0 by Sven Efftinge (also itemis). Xtext 2.0 is rewritten from scratch and provides better performance than its predecessor. The current plan for release is about October 2008. The talk was followed by a presentation given by Matthias Lübken (akquinet it-agile) who demostrated how to use the google web toolkit (GWT) in conjunction with serverside Equinox framework. Matthias talked about some of the tweaks which are necessary in order to get the two working together and also showed a little live demo. He was followed by Stefan Reichert of Lufthansa Systems who introduced his ‘wicked shell’ for Eclipse. This handy tool started as tech-demo how to bind an external process to a SWT widget. Finally, it turned into a command line, shell, bash… integration for Eclipse – featuring code completion and history. Reginald Stadlbauer (CEO froglogic) showed how to automize GUI testing of GWT and other Java based GUIs using froglogics Squish. Squish offers scripting languages like Perl, Python or JavaScript to the user to automatize application gui testing. The tool, not an Eclipse application itself, is currently rewritten and will feature full Eclipse integration sometime soon. Finally, Frank Zimmermann (Prof. at the Nordakademie) and two of his students Stefan Tanck and Henning Banneitz showed how model-driven software development (MDSD) using oAWs XText can be used to generate adapters for SAP SI in order to transform EDIFACT messages to XML and back. Unfortunately, a talk about Spring dynamic modules with OSGi was not held, the presenter Gerd Wütherich (independant consulting) was ill.

Apart from the interesting talks, it was nice to see many familiar faces, which attended the Eclipse Demo Camp in Hamburg at the end of 2007. The Eclipse Demo Camp seems to build a community. Thanks to the organizers for enabling this great event.

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At the Eclipse DemoCamp we had the opportunity to present certain aspects of our work. Our talk concentrated on building a repository for GMF based diagram editor models. The problem there is, that GMF makes assumptions about the underlaying model which had to be worked around. In the following slides the essence of the steps necessary are explained.

Presentation Slides

 Thanks to for creating and cutting the video. It is dark, but you can hear our voices, even though the presentation is in German.