What’s wrong with ATL? (or model transformation languages in general)

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This week I was in a PhD thesis defense where they had done an intensive use of ATL for writing non-trivial model transformations. So, when I was my turn to make the candidate sweat a little, one of the questions I asked him was “Based on this experience, what changes to ATL (either the language or the IDE) would you propose? ”

His answer was “None”. I’m really glad ATL worked so well for him and his particular application scenario but I’m sure this is not the case for all ATL users. So, I’d like to ask you here: If you had the chance, what would you modify about the way ATL works, the language syntax or the ATL tools?. And if you want to be more generic you can also give your opinion on the problems you think model transformation languages suffer from (but do not transform this into a language war, this is not the point).

I’ll start with one example myself. I’d like to have a live coding environment for ATL where users could immediately see the effect of the changes they do on the transformation as they perform them. Imagine adding a new rule and have an immediate representation of how this rule changes the behaviour of the transformation.

For when a live coding environment for model transformations? Click To Tweet

Not sure what I mean? Bret Victor explains it much better: read it or, better, just watch it below.

Bret Victor – Inventing on Principle from CUSEC on Vimeo.

Now, your turn!

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  1. JMGauthier
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