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  • Blog Post: Using VSTS with Excel for task tracking

    I've had reason recently to use the task tracking features in Visual Studio Team System. We've been tracking our bugs for some time in VSTS, and wanted to move over to tracking tasks there as well - it's so convenient to have it all in one place. The blocker was that we had been using spreadsheets to...
  • Blog Post: VS Team System Virtual Labs

    You can now try out DSL Tools and other aspects of Visual Studio Team System, without going to the trouble of installing them, using one of the online virtual labs . See Rob Caron's recent posting for details.
  • Blog Post: Are qualified associations necessary?

    When I'm creating domain models, the ability to place properties on a relationship is proving very useful. For example, at the moment I'm remodelling our designer definition format (we generate it from a domain model) and have a relationship between Connector and Decorator and Shape and Decorator...
  • Blog Post: Model Transformation

    I'm in Jamaica at the MoDELS 05 conference . Yesterday I attended a workshop on model transformation , where a number of different techniques were presented. The organizers had asked all submitters to apply their technique to a standard example (the object-relational mapping) so it was quite easy...
  • Blog Post: Windows Workflow Foundation

    If you're interested in Workflow then you'll want to have a look at Windows Worflow Foundation, announced at last week's PDC. Here are some links to get you going: The main page: http://msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvista/building/workflow/ An introductory article . Dave Green 's blog. Dave is the...
  • Blog Post: Software Factories workshop at OOPSLA

    Jack Greenfield asked me to mention that the organizing committee have extended the deadline for submission of position papers to the software factories workshop being held at OOPSLA05 . 26th August is the new deadline. Unfortunately I won't be at OOPSLA this year, as I'm general chair for the MoDELS...
  • Blog Post: Transformation workshop at MoDELS 05

    I'm involved in a workshop on model to model transformations at the MoDELS conference this year. The call for papers is at http://sosym.dcs.kcl.ac.uk/events/mtip/ An interesting feature of this workshop is that they're asking all participants to apply their favourite transformation techniques to...
  • Blog Post: Martin Fowler on Language Workbenches

    Martin has just put up an article on Language Workbenches - IDEs for creating and using DSLs. As you'd expect from Martin, this is an insightful piece, with enough follow-on links to keep you interested and busy for days. One of the links is to a second article on code generation . Here Martin...
  • Blog Post: Reflections on the spec process

    Back in the days when I was an academic and researcher, I used to teach Software Engineering. There are many interpretations of this term, but the focus in my classes was on turning a set of vague requirements into a tangible, detailed spec from which you could reliably cut code. I didn't go much for...
  • Blog Post: Interesting observations on XMI

    I just came across this post about XMI from Steven Kelly over at Metacase. In particular, he quotes some figures about usage of the various XMI versions: he's conducted a web search for XMI files out there on the web. The first thing that struck me was how few there are, and secondly how very few there...
  • Blog Post: GAT and recipes

    I've just noticed that a webcast on the Guidance Automation Toolkit (GAT) is now available. This is some emerging technology that should soon be made available in a download. Harry Pierson has a nice description over on his blog. GAT and DSL Tools are both key technologies for realising the software...
  • Blog Post: Building the right system, faster and more reliably

    I've been pondering what the fundamental problems are that we and others are trying to solve with DSLs, Software Factories, Model Driven Software Development, and the like. I've distilled it down to two key problems: Automating rote tasks that are tedious and time-consuming to perform, and error-prone...
  • Blog Post: Collection associations in class designer

    I see that Ramesh on the class designer team has posted a note about collection associations . The basic idea is that when visualising code one can choose to elide the collection class, so, for example, you'll see an association from Customer to Order instead of an association from Customer to IList...
  • Blog Post: DSLs and customization

    Fred Thwaites has asked a question in response to this post . He asks: "Does this imply that in general users of DSL in VS2005 will need to be aware of this metamodel, or will VS2005 come with a comprehensive set of predefined DSL's filling all the cells of Jack Greenfields software factory schema grid...
  • Blog Post: The UML / DSL debate

    There's been some debate between some of my MSFT colleagues ( Alan Wills , Steve Cook , Jack Greenfield ) and Grady Booch and others over at IBM around UML and DSLs. For those interested, Grady actually posted an article on UML and DSLs back in May last year - seems to have gone unnoticed. It touched...
  • Blog Post: Tools to create, tools to consume, tools to check

    As a number of my colleagues have already pointed out the December download of the DSL Tools are now available. Three walkthroughs giving more detail on how to use these bits should also be available soon - hopefully before Christmas, if not early in the New Year. Not only do these bits allow you to...
  • Blog Post: UML, DSLs and software factories: let those analogies flow...

    I typed this entry a few days ago, but then managed to lose it through a set of circumstances I'm too embarrassed to tell you about. It's always better second time around in any case. Anyway, reading this recent post from Simon Johnston prompted a few thoughts that I'd like to share. In summary, Simon...
  • Blog Post: What does it mean to be MDA compliant?

    I read on Jim Steel's blog that back in August there was lots of discussion on OMG lists about what makes a compliant MDA tool. I followed a link from his blog to this entry , and there were three aspects that intrigued me. The top two proposed criteria for a conformant MDA tool require that such a tool...
  • Blog Post: Premature standardization

    I used the phrase 'premature standardization' in an earlier post today. I'm rather pleased with it, as it is a crisp expression of something that has vexed me for some time, namely the tendency of standards efforts in the software space to transform themselves into a research effort of the worst kind...
  • Blog Post: Back from vacation, more on DSLs

    It's been a long time since my last entry - those few who were following my blog have probably given up by now. The interruption in service has been due to (a) family vacation and (b) moving house. One of these days I'll wax lyrical about the inadequacies of the English system for buying and selling...
  • Blog Post: Designing graphical notations: for paper or tools?

    In this posting I continue on the theme of designing tools and notations to support modeling. On and off I've spent the last eight years thinking about the design of graphical (as opposed to purely textual) notations for use in software development. Until I started to build tools to support these...
  • Blog Post: Storyboarding

    An important part of my job is to analyze requirements and write specifications. I have found the technique of storyboarding to be extremely effective. A storyboard is a concrete rendition of a particular scenario - could be a use case or an XP story (see Martin Fowler on UseCasesAndStories for an explanation...
  • Blog Post: On code generation from models

    In a recent article , Dan Hayward introduced two kinds of approaches to MDA: translationist and elaborationist. In the former approach 100% code is generated from the model; in the latter approach some of the code is generated and then hand finished. He gives examples of tools and companies following...
  • Blog Post: Great article on MDA

    Here's a great article on MDA that my colleague Steve Cook pointed me at: http://www.theserverside.com/articles/article.tss?l=MDA_Haywood A couple of highlights for me are: The distinction between the elaborationist and translationist views of MDA. A detailed critique of why the PIM/PSM distinction,...
  • Blog Post: Reaction to Grady Booch on UML and DSL's.

    Hello. I am a Program Manager at Microsoft working on infrastructure for developing modelling tools. You can find out a bit more about me, including what I did before joining Microsoft, here and here . In this, my first posting, I want to react to a recent posting by Grady Booch on his blog . I...
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