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Raise your level of abstraction

My first time at the code generation conference! Comments and food for thoughts...

Hi all!

It was my first time at the code generation conference and I must say it was a great experience! This is why I want to drop a few lines on the subject.

I am a very big believer of the model driven development approach. Actually, I have always been looking for and experimenting ways to improve software development productivity, quality and reusability in any form that would prove useful. And the picture I have in mind today is that MDSD and its derivatives are an excellent direction to follow in that respect. And it is just a direction because for me the MDSD approach is a set of concepts and a guide to follow to finally reach the (one) proper solution for a specific (any ideally many specific) problem to solve. My view is that nobody should be too dogmatic and preach for THE solution and THE principles to follow.

Many sessions were very interesting and it was for me a way to meet new people, hear great ideas, and extend my perspectives and viewpoints on software development and specifically model driven development, and I was relieved to see that no: I am not alone out there thinking about crazy things that nobody wants to hear nor understand. We are not that many but hey!! Who wants to be like everyone? I want to be special and different, and researching and developing around MDSD approach makes me different! The D day when MDSD will be common widely appreciated and used approach with all required tools available, I will just go my way and find something new and different to investigate on and promote.

I want to say a final word about some sentences I would qualify as almost philosophical as compared to all the technical stuff we talked about during this conference. These were words said by Steve Cook that I found extremely interesting and with great potential for those ready to hear them and put them into practice for better efficiency. But first of all: the final panel was a great mixture of ideas and perspectives and a good conclusion to the conference, I loved it!

I will rephrase the sentences since I don’t have the precise words in memory and hope I will not derive too much from the original words. First sentence was that “People only understand solutions to problems they have”, and second one was: “People will continue doing things the way they do because this is the way people are”. For me these two sentences put on the table the extra card of the human being and the fact that 90% of the people will just don’t see things like us, will be less open to new ideas and even less open to the problems of the community and very selfish and concentrated on their own immediate business need and daily problems…

Hey guys! We are doing great innovative and exciting stuff, but we should not forget that it will be not easy to generalize these ideas and have them adopted by the vast majority for the reasons explained above. Markus Volter would say (final panel): I don’t care if I can myself have access to the right tools and keep providing service to my clients the way I think is best for them. Well, I cannot agree more somehow, however the wide adoption of a concept by the majority is probably also the best way to make it grow and evolve and promote competition and investments to really go a big step further and also mandatory to convince companies that this is the way, or at least one serious and reliable way to go.

So my conclusion on Steve’s words is that we should never forget that: no matter how great and fantastic and promising tools or approaches one might develop and foster, if it is not presented the right way and through the right angle to the world , it will then just die. So when presenting a product, a tool or an approach to your customer, or boss, or colleague, forget about the 10 thousand wonderful features and promises it has because no-one cares and no-one understands if not directly related to their own and immediate needs and problems. And when I say “no-one” I want to say the mere mortal, the Mr. X who represents 90% of the persons you will ever to talk to.

So just target your presentation and speech and show to the people what they want to hear, what can really help them now and just now in their very specific and important (for them at least) case! And talk different and go deeper if you feel there is response and understanding on the other side. Seems very obvious but is actually not at all!

And related to the second sentence is the human tendency to be reluctant to changes: people will not easily change the way they work or the tools they use! So the changes have to be simple, guided and straightforward which is obviously not easy if your objective is to introduce a paradigm shift to software development. So my belief is that a major shift of the industry toward Model Driven Software Development will only happen if the proper tools are available to help and guide the shift, because most of the people won’t do a sole mental shift with the existing tools, that’s much too difficult. The sole mental shift is possible as MDSD is an approach that can be followed with the existing tools, but require a very big investment and will to do so.

Well that was my last word and conclusion on CG2009! Thanks a lot to everyone for contribution, great share of ideas and thanks a lot to the great organization: that’s was a wonderful welcoming. And… see you next year; I hope I will have great new stuff to share with all of you!

And please feel free to visit my Blog, I have posted on Model driven software development:
http://walteralmeida.com

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