Jyväskylä-based MetaCase is leading the tech news emanating from Finland this week with its new plug-in for Eclipse. Built to serve its MetaEdit+ Domain-Specific Modeling (DSM) environment, the plug-in allows users to work with MetaEdit+ models directly from Eclipse. It also automatically imports source code generated from the MetaEdit+ models into Eclipse and builds and runs it there.
MetaCase highlights the challenges facing development teams when combining the use of both models and code concurrently. The company argues that the reason for difficulties at this point is partly because of the modeling languages used and partly because of the tools. With the plug-in, domain-specific models, expressed as diagrams, matrices, or tables in MetaEdit+, can be browsed and used directly from Eclipse.
Domain-Specific Modeling utilizes high-level models that describe things in the terms of a company's individual problem domain, instead of attempting to visualize the code developers will write. These models directly mirror real-world objects, theoretically allowing developers to make better designs with less effort and enabling them to generate production-quality code that interfaces correctly with their existing software platform.
While the above statement comes from MetaCase, analyst opinion seems to concur. Butler Group's Chris Haddad said some time ago now that, "The use of domain-specific languages and custom meta models is the greatest aid to productivity and making model-driven development a viable practice. Unfortunately, most vendors ship general-purpose UML modeling tools that are not easily customized to reflect domain-specific notations and constructs."
"The MetaEdit+ plug-in for Eclipse allows generators to import and integrate the generated code with the code written in Eclipse as frameworks or unique business logic code. The integration also enables debugging at the model level: While running the application code, models can be traced and annotated. Tools that provide interfaces and extensibility, like Eclipse and MetaEdit+, can be more easily adapted to a company's development processes, languages, and frameworks," said Dr. Juha-Pekka Tolvanen, CEO of MetaCase.