This is Jos Warmer, I have been doing modeling, meta-modeling and domain specific languages for quite some time. I have used many different tools like Xtext, Graphiti , Microsoft DSL Tools, MPS, plain old Java and TypeScript.
I started out doing research on SGML (nowadays XML), developing a projectional editor for text processing using Eiffel, then went on building a fast prototyping tool using Smalltalk.
From there on I got interested in modeling at a higher abstraction level than the typical programming language. After a while I became IBM’s representative in the UML standardization team, and managed to get OCL accepted into the standard.
But … I found developing models and then implementing them manually in code rather dissatisfying. After some experiments trying to use UML for generating code from models, I concluded that UML is totally unsuitable for this purpose. UML is (and was meant to be!) for human communication.
I moved on to developing domain specific languages, and lucky for me, at the same time language workbenches were getting more popular and more powerful. Xtext was growing (I think it was version 0.7) and with the help of some Xtext team members I quickly built my first DSL’s with Xtext. With thanks to Bernd Kolb, who build new features into Xtext on the same day (!) that I asked him for it.
With a team of Microsoft developers we jumped onto the Microsoft DSL Tools and built a automated software factory (the buzz word at the time). Within the same company we developed a similar set of DSL’s for Java. using Xtext, called Mod4j.
When I became independent in 2010, I developed graphical DSL’s for insurance and logging analysis using Graphiti.
In 2013 I became involved in a project for I2S in Porto where we were going to build a DSL for insurance experts. Their users had refused to use text based DSL’s saying “we are not programmers”. For this reason I decided that we needed more flexible notations that would be much closer to the business users. I proposed to use MPS for this and with the help from Markus we convinced the customer and built a very nice DSL for insurance mathematics. The users turned out to be very happy with the results.
At Mendix R&D I was responsible for developing the meta-model tooling, which was instrumental for creating their web modeler. Currently I am involved in a large scale MPS project at the Dutch Tax Office (together with Meinte, see https://d.strumenta.community/t/hi-im-meinte-boersma/149).
My experience learned me that DSL’s for different users have very different requirements. Where text based DSL’s are usually fine for developers, projectional DSL’s using notations like (pseudo) natural language, tables, graphics, mathematical notations, etc. are necessary for most business (i.e. non IT) users.
I find the projectional editor the killer feature of MPS, and think we need such an editor on the Web. Therefore I am now developing ProjectIt, a web based open source projectional editor framework.
Thank to Federico for starting this community, I am looking forward to productive discussions, and hopefully also some interesting collaborations.
Best wishes to all, Jos