Defining DSLs in the Eclipse universe has become almost a normal thing and there are incredible frameworks out there to do that. Some of them are textual, others are graphical and from time to time there comes a flood of different attempts to mix both notations. The story of mixed notations is old, yet still not solved in a common way that has proven to be “the solution”. Of course there are plenty of interesting technical challenges, but let’s step back and rethink who is our target audience to see if we are solving a real problem.
Building a DSL for coders is easy. They are happy with text, don’t have a problem with IDEs and yes, there is support for DSLs in the web as well if necessary.
Building DSLs for business people is a different pair of shoes. They are more accustomed to graphics and appreciate boxes and lines over IDEs. Luckily there are great frameworks for graphical DSLs, too. And even more important: The graphical DSLs can be run in the browser as well. After all we all agree that installing desktop apps is so 90s..
For both audiences we have everything at our disposal to make our users happy, but are business people really satisfied with mere boxes and lines? What about tables? Formulas? Decision trees? With the same passion that developers have when tweaking syntax coloring schemes, business people love there special notations in all sorts of combinations. And they are used to these from office applications like Excel or Powerpoint. In fact it's Excel that offers the fiercest competition to DSLs.
So for us it boils down to the question: How can we compete with Excel? How can we provide added value with our technologies? How can we convince business people in the same way we did convince coders? Projectional editors to the rescue!
In this talk we’ll like to invite you on a journey from the past to the present and show what’s doable with nowadays technologies to make coders and business people happy, offer the notations of their choice to make them appreciate our tools. And yes this journey will go beyond text, boxes and lines.