What's new and useful in GMF
The Eclipse Graphical Modeling Framework (GMF) provides a generative component and runtime infrastructure for developing graphical editors based on EMF and GEF. The Bonita BPM Studio provides a powerful and user-friendly interface by leveraging GMF customization power.
Bonita BPM Studio is the design/modeling component of a complete open source BPM Solution. This Eclipse RCP application is the winner of an Eclipse Community Award in 2011, in the "Best Modeling Application" category. The author of this article, Aurélien Pupier, is one of the lead developers at Bonitasoft and has been an Eclipse Committer since 2010.
The core of GMF (GMF-Runtime) is stable. The project is evolving mainly to follow the Release Train and to ensure compatibility with new Eclipse releases.
What does this mean? It means that release after release, every GMF-based product benefits from high stability and backward-compatibility. It allows the Bonitasoft developer team to upgrade easily from one version to another.
Relying on the compatibility layer, GMF works nicely with Eclipse 4.x version. The last version of Bonita BPM is based on Eclipse 4.3.1, and we plan to move to 4.4 for the next one.
Although the core of GMF does not offer big shiny new features, the ecosystem around GMF is evolving and it is a good sign for the future health of the project. The following features are worth mentioning:
- Graphical comparison within the scope of the EMF Compare project
- Task-focused UI using Mylyn bridge
- Different kind of integration with Xtext, such as an Xtext Cell Editor or a sample to use Xtext Resource for graphical rendering using GMF
Tools to facilitate building applications that rely on GMF-Runtime continue to evolve:
- GMF-Tooling is the historical tooling project. Among other things, they followed the "eat your own dog food" principle by integrating a new graphical editor to design your own GMF diagrams.
- The freshly open-sourced Sirius project is integrated in the release train this year. It provides a new interpretative approach and comes with a Viewpoint feature.
- Eugenia is still maintaining their tooling for new Eclipse releases.
- On the Commercial tools side, we can mention Obeo Designer which offers Collaborative Modeling.
We're looking forward to the next set of changes coming with Eclipse Luna!