April 9-11th 2014
Churchill College, Cambridge UK


Session Title

On the way to DSLs for non-programmers

Session Type Experience Report
Duration 90 minutes
Session Description

Traditionally, DSLs have been targeted at "specialized programmers" or at least at people with a strong technical background such as engineers, mathematicians or scientists. However, DSLs can also be very useful for people who work in fields that are less technical, and more on the business side of the universe.

In this session we discuss our experiences in building DSLs for business people, i.e. non-IT people who know their respective domain well. These people are not necessarily experienced in structured (or even formal) representation of their expert knowledge, and might not even be experts in computer usage.

Over the last few years, Markus, Jos & Bernd have gained some valuable experience into the kinds of domains, people, languages, and notations that make this approach feasible. It turns out that the requirements for DSLs and the tools used can be quite different for business users. The goal of this session is to present this experience and start a discussion about how to move the field forward.

The experiences are taken from Bernd's and Markus's work with Intentional and Achmea Insurance, Jos's work for an insurance company in Porto, and Markus's and Bernd's work on the requirements language in mbeddr.


Markus Voelter (Independent / itemis)

Markus Völter works as an independent researcher, consultant and coach for itemis AG in Stuttgart, Germany. His focus is on software architecture, model-driven software development and domain specific languages as well as on product line engineering. Markus also regularly writes (articles, patterns, books) and speaks (trainings, conferences) on those subjects. Contact him via voelter.de.

Jos Warmer (Independent)

Jos Warmer is an independent modelling expert. He has been an active member of the modelling community and main architect of the Object Constraint Language. He authored books on MDA, OCL and UML and enjoys showing people that MDD works. Over the last years Jos has developed several DSL’s for business people using both Eclipse and MPS, and has seen that business people have different requirements from IT people.

Bernd Kolb (itemis)

Bernd Kolb works as an architecture & technology manager for itemis in Stuttgart. His focus is on Eclipse, OSGi and Modeling. Before he joined itemis, Bernd worked for SAP as an architect on modeling and cloud technologies. Bernd is a regular speaker at various conferences and has written a number of articles in different magazines. In 2008 he co-authored a German-language book on OSGi.