Code Generation 2008: Day 3

Last day of CG2008.

Key note: The Domain Specific IDE by Steve Cook (Microsoft)
Steve has introduced DSLs briefly, talked about various patterns of use, then the main topic of software development using DSLs and the evolution of software development. He depicted SW evolution in quadrants and highlighted the path of evolution as: craftmanship > mass production > continuous improvement > mass customization.
A few highlights from the session

It makes sense to model concerns [IT Architecture].

[DSL, code generation] the only way to get some head-way is to make it economical.

To create a language [DSL], it really means to create a tool. The language itself is pretty useless in itself.

We have recognized that Visual Studio is a platform not just an IDE.

Bran Selic: Standardization [software development] goes way beyond standardization of API. One way to do it right is to standardize on semantics.

Experience Report: Evangelizing Code Generation: A case study of incremental adoption by Brooke Hamilton (FM Global)
Brooke’s session was pleasantly different than the other sessions during the conference as he was from the customer side and not a vendor or an academic. His presentation was brilliant, well structured, pleasantly constructed. Brooke had real details of his own and his team’s experience on their project(s) from the last few years. It was definitely one of the best presentations during the conference, it sparked a lot of good discussions.

Code Generation Narcosis – you feel more powerful using code generation than you really are.

Code generation improves architecture. It makes you look for redundant parts and separate concerns.

We cannot make an application serving unknown needs, but we can generate a lot of code! 

Versioning of the templates [code generation] is absolutely crucial.

Tutorial: Strategies for generating code from Microsoft DSL tools and T4 text templates by Brooke Hamilton (FM Global)
This session was more of a demo using the Microsoft DSL Tools in the Visual Studio environment. Brooke also tailored in some of his experience with the tool and how it is applicable to their projects at FM Global.

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In summary, it was an excellent conference with a lot of great presentations from the top experts on this field, great discussions during panels, BoFs and Goldfish Bowls. A lot of new ideas, thoughts and questions to take away to consolidate and look for answers until next year’s event.

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