Product Line Engineering

SPL @ ECMDA 2009 After Show Report

Posted in Bits'n'Pieces by danilo on July 2, 2009

June (23rd – 26th) 2009 was the “Fifth European Conference on Model-Driven Architecture Foundations and Applications”  in Enschede, The Netherlands.

With very nice weather (27°Celsius compared to rain storms in not so far away southern Germany) and a very nice campus, it proved to be worth my and probably also the time of most the other participants. First for me was the MDPLE workshop on the 24th. Quite a number of participants (some 25) it seems to be a hot topic in the model driven community. Most of the presentations were on the technical side of the problem (to be expected), except for the key note of Mehmet Akşit, who made an very interesting proposal for checking a product line modeling approach: If you are able to capture the product line variability of the last 15 years in your approach, it is most likely also able to go with you for the next 15 years. The point was of course, that an approach must be able to deal with the future evolution. Since future is not known exactly (wouldn’t be a “real “ future otherwise), the only thing is to treat your history as simulation of the way the future will be. In many of the (earlier) approaches of model driven development and product lines as well, evolution and change was somehow left out of the equation. BTW, there were at least 3 conference papers looking at good ways to deal with model evolution (have a look at the Friday 10.30 session). As part of the workshop we had also a part where polemic questions were collected and answers for those discussed by the audience. This was also quite funny since there were some really polemic questions with a serious background.

Our own paper presentation  “Managing Flexibility: Modeling Binding-Times in Simulink” (Springer LNCS 5562) went well, but was slightly to long reducing the number of allowed question to just one 😦 . And in my demonstration of pure::variants for Enterprise Architect I tried to copy the wrong model (twice at least), contradicting somewhat the purpose of the copy action (which was to speed up the demonstration, 20 min are fairly short). Anyway, I was able to make my point and got some good response afterwards. Some other demonstrations also linked their model driven approaches/tools to product line ideas. IBM demonstrated an UML based approach, which was not to different from our integration with UML conceptually, so we cannot be completely wrong on this 🙂 .

The success of the MDPLE workshop makes me looking forward to the First International Workshop on Model-Driven Approaches in Software Product Line Engineering (MAPLE), which is obviously not the first workshop on this topic, only the first one using the acronym MAPLE :-). The workshop is part of this year’s SPLC in San Francisco (August 24th – 28th), on which I will post something later on. 

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