Hello, I'm Thomas

Hello everyone,

As tradition states and politeness demands, here is a not-so-short introductive message :slight_smile:

My name is Thomas Villaren and I’m really glad I found this community as I’ve been looking for an online gathering of DSL-knowledgeable people for quite some time now!

Indeed, I’ve been working with Model-Driven Engineering for almost ten years now (I did my PhD on topics adjacent to Model-Based User Interface domain a.k.a. MBUI) and really discovered this world and more specifically Language Workbenches and DSLs 7 years ago, at the Code Generation Conference in Cambridge, where I met some people I’m happy to see here.

Until last year, I worked for almost 7 years on a low-code platform called Generative Objects, which we actually used as a Language Workbench for the Language Workbench Challenge that year (in a bit of a naive way if I remember well :innocent:).

Of interest to this community, I can say that in the Generative Objects platform, we implemented a DSL for Business Rules definition, using ANTLR. For these numerous years working on this platform, I’ve tried to implement the best practices in MDE, specifically in MBUI, based on the CAMELEON framework.

I have been wondering for all those years if other low-code platforms were actually building their architecture following these standards as well: I find there is a gap between the MDE / DSL community, with little visibility and adhesion from the public and the low-code community, which tends to be more and more “trendy” but often put business & marketing messages first rather, and make it difficult to know what is really happening behind.
I apply this criticism to myself as we never really communicated on the technology and architecture behind Generative Objects. But this might change soon, as the project is planned to go open source and serve a community.

On the professional side, I recently joined Payfit, a European company building a SaaS payroll & HRIS solution to SME, as a Software & Language Architect. Indeed, one specificity of Payfit is that we built our own low-code platform called Jetlang to model the payroll logic in the countries we launch.(we published a medium article a couple of years ago about it, it was described as a language then).
This platform embeds the Jetlang Expression Language, our own DSL, used to define the business logic. For that purpose, DSL Engineering by @voelter has been my companion book for some time now!

I already enjoyed reading some of the posts here and will continue doing so keep learning and hopefully share my views on the topics.

Thanks for reading!


Welcome aboard, Thomas! Living far away from Europe, where most of the MDD/DSL action seems to happen, I too longed for a community like this for quite some time.

Interesting news about Generative Objects. I will be looking forward to see how well their code generator works (and which stack it uses), and would be very keen on targeting it in my own modeling tools.

Re: MBUI - this is an area I have neglected for a long time, but am very interested in more recently. Planning on starting a thread on the topic soon.



Apparently a few people shared the same thought :slight_smile:

In my opinion DSLs have clearly a marketing problem. Perhaps one component to change that is to build critical mass in the community and foster more interactions. This is one of the goals of this community.

Nice! I would love to learn more about it

Very nice. I think it would be valuable for the community to learn and share the story of a company using DSLs at its core.

Welcome Thomas!

Hello @rafael ! Well, here we are, presentation of the Generative Objects platform this thursday :wink: