Monday, May 16, 2011

Code Generation 2011

Have you heard of Xtend, yet? It's the successor to the template language Xpand. It's implemented with Xtext and it's based on Xtext's new embeddable expression language Xbase.
Xtend's main purpose is to be the most concise and most productive way to write code generators.

Of course, the best conference to present such a language is "Code Generation 2011" in Cambridge, UK. A nice familial conference, taking place next week, with lots of very friendly people all interested in one topic. This year's keynotes are given by the authors of two of the main libraries Xtext is based on: my friend Ed Merks, the original author and lead of EMF, and Terence Parr, the author of the Antlr Parser Generator.

Terence has also developed a new version of his template language (StringTemplate) which he is hopefully able to demo next week. Our friends from Obeo will have a talk about Acceleo which is an OMG standards based template language. They do a pretty good job in compensating the little freedom in language design they have by adding rich tooling. I especially like the tracing stuff they have.

There are also various other interesting presentations like the hands-on sessions on MPS and MetaEdit+. Also Heiko and Peter are going to give their very entertaining talk about cross-mobile platform development. I have yet to see a more practical and at the same time entertaining presentation on how to benefit from code generation and DSLs.

Unfortunately I cannot go to all the mentioned sessions because some of them take place in parallel. Anyway, the two sessions I definitely will attend are starting on Tuesday at 11am. They are both classified as hands-on sessions and will be giving them together with Sebastian and Jan.

During the Xtend hands-on you will learn everything you need to get started with this nice little language. Learning Xtend is quite easy if you are familiar with Eclipse and Java, because the integration of the tooling is tight and the syntax is only different at a few places. Mostly Xtend just leaves superfluous stuff out (e.g. type inference). This session will have a huge hands-on part and doesn't require any previous knowledge.

The other session will be about Xtext 2.0. We will cover the basic principles as well as advanced topics. Also Xbase, the embeddable expression language, will be covered. In this session the hands-on parts will likely not be as excessive as in the Xtend session, because we have to expect a mixed audience with respect to prior knowledge of Xtext. The session shall be interesting to both experienced and not so experienced listeners.

Punting tour during CG 2009

Both sessions only require you to bring your own laptop (or a friend with one) and a JVM with SDK (1.5 or higher).

I'm looking forward to see you next week in nice Cambridge. Hopefully we will have great weather so we can go punting and / or enjoy the evenings otherwise in this beautiful town. Apart from the great program the evenings are usually the best thing at most conferences and this is supposed to be especially true if you are in Cambridge in May. Well at least if the weather is as nice as as it was in 2009 when I took the picture on the right hand side.