Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
When people ask me my take on model-driven approaches, I think of two ends of the spectrum -- human and the machine.
Model-Driven CodeI've never experienced an effective modeling approach that turns visuals of systems into code, where the model doesn't get in the way. At some point, the model stops being useful for humans or stops being useful to the machine. As a result, I've never really been a fan of model-driven approaches that are coupled to code in practice, although they're always interesting in theory. While I'm open to the idea, I just haven't seen it. Am I missing out?
Effective Modeling for Shaping SoftwareWhile I'm not a fan of most visual modeling tools, there’s some very real modeling approaches I find to be effective (which is more about modeling for the humans to understand what matters.) I find that light-weight, human-oriented models are particularly effective for shaping software around quality attributes. For example:
My Related Posts
Well structured, nice post. Modelling always has the advantage that you can play with your ideas on a simplified playground.
> you can play with your ideas on a simplified playground
I think there are two places where CASE-type model<->code conversion works well and they both share the property that only the surface of the model--the part that defines how the modeled process and objects--is retained in the conversion.
One is automated ER diagramming tools that allow good visual models that work for learning, sharing, and designing to be converted into creation and updating code. This was one of the earliest CASE successes and is still a major win in data modeling.
The other is automated interface extraction tools that take sequence-type diagrams and identify exposed interfaces for your objects. It allows for clear common closure on interfaces, it can be reversed from a call tree (with moderate success), and it's far, far more successful than automatic conversion of full entity models to code objects.
Given that ER database conversion is pretty early in the CASE history and that sequence and interface (whether from modern sequence diagrams, mid-90s DFDs, or whathaveyou) are from early BPR, we're seeing that some of the older (10-15 year) modeling tools are finally mature enough to be useful. Although, to be fair, ER/win has been great since approximately the dawn of time.
I make teams I work with remove any automated model coupling that generates code and put warning on generated models. I have never seen either be reliable enough. Even with ER/win or a sequence diagram->interface tool I want a complex neural net trained to analyze code to verify the results.
> remove any automated model coupling that generates code
> I want a complex neural net trained to analyze code to verify the results