Today, DZone releases the Eclipse Modelling Framework Refcard, with all you need to get started using EMF, the most popular framework among Eclipse users and projects. Ed Merks was the primary author of this Refcard, with me co-authoring as a user of EMF. Here, Ed answers some questions about the Refcard and EMF.
James Sugrue: For those who aren't familiar with you, please introduce yourself.
Ed Merks: I'm Ed Merks and I've been working on programming languages and their associated tools for more than two decades.
Sugrue: What is you involvement with the EMF and the Modelling Project? How long have you been working on it?
Merks: I'm the technical lead for EMF project and the co-lead for the Modeling top-level project. I've been working on EMF even before it was open sourced at Eclipse in 2002 and have been the co-lead for Modeling since the project coalesced a few years ago.
Sugrue: What are the alternatives to EMF, both external and internal to Eclipse?
Merks: Stones and pointy sticks. I suppose there are many technologies that are superficially similar. E.g., you might compare EMF to JAXB if you consider EMF to be an XML binding solution, but EMF is far more than just that.
Sugrue: What are the typical use cases that should make someone consider using EMF?
Merks: If you have structured data that you need to manipulate, persist, view, and integrate with other data, then EMF provides technology that will help a great deal.
Sugrue: From the newsgroups, what has been your favourite use of EMF that you've seen?
Merks: Many of the cool things that I see out there often end up becoming components within EMFT or elsewhere in the Modeling project. I'm particularly fond of things like Teneo and CDO which graduated to EMF from EMFT last year. There are many other cool things incubating in EMFT right now, e.g., Compare, Mint, Search, JRCM, and Ecore Tools, which I use all the time now. And of course there are a great many companies doing cool things in the model driven development space, including itemis, Obeo, Skyway, and even Morgan Stanley with their MODeX tool.
Sugrue: Did you enjoy writing the Refcard?
Merks: I'm very happy with how the Refcard turned out. I don't alway enjoy the process of writing so much, but once I get started, it's quite captivating. That being said, I should have a T-shirt that says "I'd rather be programming."
Sugrue: What is your top tip for EMF users?
Merks: EMF has extensive infrastructure that's challenging to learn all at once. It has solutions to a great many problems so try every so often to discover something new. You'll be glad you did.
Sugrue: What should we expect from EMF in the Gailileo release train? What about the rest of the Modelling Project?
Merks: The EMF core is very stable and the number of people working on it is very small, so not all that much happens. My current work on producing a minimal footprint EObject implementation stands out as kind of exciting; it's pretty much complete. Also the work on access listeners, i.e., notifications before reads or writes of an EObject's features occur, will open up some interesting possibilities for clients. CDO's focus on scalable models stands out as very interesting. And I have a special personal fondness for Xtext. The Galileo train will definitely have a great many goodies on it. There has also been a surge of modeling project proposals of late, including support for presentation modeling, indexing, software factories, executable models, and more. Eclipse is a very exciting place to be!
Competition Time! Stay tuned this week for further EMF-related articles where I review the latest edition of the EMF book and I get a chance to ask the authors some more questions. We're also running a fantastic competition along with the Eclipse Foundation where you can win the EMF book, or some Eclipse shirts. Just leave a comments on your EMF experiences, what you have created with EMF or any questions you have about it to be in with a chance to win. (Closed, winners announced)
Click here to download your free EMF Refcard now!