DSL Tools in Visual Studio 2010 - the cat is well and truly out of the bag

So after all the excitement of the PDC, now TechEd Europe is upon us and we're finally talking in some more depth about where we're going in Visual Studio 2010 with DSL Tools.

Firstly, quite a few of you have been pinging me to ask about the relationship between DSL Tools and Oslo.  See Keith and Stuart's posts on the subject.  Clearly both teams have their distinct focus and paths forward - As Keith says, I'm sure we'll be looking at ways forward that bring customer investments in either track closer together as time progresses.

The way I like to think about it that although we're both concerned about using DSLs to complete frameworks, currently Oslo is more focused on model execution to achieve that, whereas we're more focused on transformation of and generation from models to achieve it.

So, on to our VS 2010 feature set.  Here's what you can expect in the next public release (from Stuart's announcement):

    • Dsl Libraries. Share fragments of DSL definitions between different designers.
    • Dsl extensibility. Extend the domain model and behavior for a DSL after it's been deployed, including DSLs shipped by a third party.
    • Readonly. Selectively switch off the ability to edit models and model elements in a designer.
    • Forms-based UI. Easily bind models to winforms and WPF-based forms UI. IMS now implements the necessary databinding interfaces.
    • Modelbus. A new piece of platform to support cross-referencing between models and interaction between designers. This has been one of customers' main requests.
    • T4 precompile. Precompile text templates so that they can be deployed for use on machines that do not have VS installed. (This applies to scenarios where text templates take inputs from data sources other than DSL models. We've had requests from internal teams to use text templates in scenarios which don't use models created from DSLs.)
    • UI enhancements:
      • Moveable labels on the connectors (moveably can be activated
      • Sticky tools in the toolbox
      • Quick navigation and editing of compartments
      • Copy and paste of selection as BMP and EMF images
      • Copy and paste of elements in the same or in different diagrams


I've spent most of my time so far in three of those areas, so I'll dive in to those along with Stuart and Jean-Marc over the next few months.

  • T4 precompile
  • Copy/paste
  • Forms databinding

it's pretty exciting to suddenly have such a lot to talk about!

Technorati Tags: DSL Tools, Oslo, Visual Studio 2010, Domain-Specific Language