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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
For many developers, modeling is like flossing. You know you probably should, but you can’t stand the hassle. But what if someone gave you the key benefits of modeling with a far lower “cost of entry”?
Someone has. And there’s more. The Eclipse Modeling Framework is free.
It’s part of the open source Eclipse project, which is building a truly awesome collection of integrated, commercial-quality developer tools. (Let’s be more precise. Eclipse is a platform for developing whatever new tool your heart desires and integrating your tool with others doing likewise. But many of the 3 million developers who’ve downloaded Eclipse did so for the tools that already exist, especially Eclipse’s state-of-the-art Java development environment.)
We digress. Let’s get back to models. When you think about them, you think UML: class diagrams, collaboration diagrams, state diagrams, and so forth. That usually means expensive OOA/D tools. Once you’ve done all that modeling, then what? While you can generate code from the model, quite a few organizations use it primarily as documentation. No wonder folks can’t be bothered.
Now, “compare and contrast” with EMF. EMF uses XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) to define models. You can create XMI with your fave-rave XML or text editor or export it from the modeler you already own. But most folks will build EMF models a third way: by annotating Java interfaces with model properties, within the Eclipse IDE. No expensive tools. No Everest-scale learning curves.
Once you’ve built your model, EMF’s generator can create corresponding Java implementation classes for you. If you edit these classes with your own methods and instance variables, you can still regenerate them from the model. If you wish -– and it’s up to you -– you can integrate modeling and programming as never before. Meanwhile, EMF’s handling all sorts of nitty tasks for you, such as model change notification.
Excited yet? Then read Eclipse Modeling Framework. Authored by a team of IBMers at the heart of the Eclipse project, it’s all you need to know to get results with EMF. A little Java experience is all you need: The authors cover every detail of defining EMF models and generating code from them. They review all three ways to define EMF models and carefully walk through the powerful Ecore metamodel.
There’s extensive coverage of using the EMF Generator and its associated patterns, with a chapter-length case study. You’ll find plenty of tips for building the best possible models, too -– and these authors have done more EMF modeling than anyone.
The book ends with a complete Quick Reference to the EMF 1.1 API and to EMF.Edit API, which provides generic, reusable classes for building editors for EMF models. By the time you get there, you’ll be raring to go. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.