My last few posts have been written on the topic of Model Driven Architecture (MDA). I recently read a white paper(pdf) on Mentor Graphics’ EDGE UML Suite, which is a tool that will take you through the entire MDA software cycle. I must say that I’m beginning to be more convinced of the power of MDA.
The Edge UML Suite is primarily a tool for building software for embedded systems. Mentor Graphics’ MDA tools have been tried and proven in “launch vehicles, life-critical medical systems, fault-tolerant telecom systems, resource-constrained consumer electronics, and distributed, discrete-event HLA simulation systems.” (EDGE UML Suite product page)
Their tools claim to produce code that require smaller footprints than other UML-modeling-to-executable-code tools.
The EDGE UML Suite consists of four tools: the BridgePoint Builder, the BridgePoint Data Access Package, the BridgePoint Debugger, and the BridgePoint Model Compiler. The following diagram displays how these products work together:
Another version of this graphic that is included in the white paper labels the design layer as the platform independent model (PIM), and the translation layer as the platform specific model (PSM). Most embedded systems don’t need much as far as interface design, so there doesn’t seem to be as much interface-related information on this tool like there is for the OlivaNova Model Execution tool.
In the past, I programmed small applications for various barcode-scanning handheld devices. I always prefered working with Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools rather than building the software from scratch in C, or some other lower-level language. RAD tools seemed to limit the application to a small, predefined set of functions, which often forced the creation of custom software. Designing from UML seems to give much greater flexibility in functionality while still allowing for a quick, visual approach to software creation. I would like to someday try out a tool like this.