This Dilbert strip is a perfect example of a cool technology: everybody feels the need to use it. Your colleagues are using it, clients force you to use it so you end up changing the way you develop software to integrate it even if have no idea why you’re doing it. It’s just that the technology is so cool that you embrace it. Whether the technology actually brings any clear benefit nobody cares. Being cool is enough!


New programming languages are cool. Agile is cool. Cloud is cool. MDE / modeling is clearly not cool. Every time I mention the word model I get the immediate question: where is the proof that MDE improves productivity / quality /… ty. Instead, if I talk about the latest programming language (new Agile method, new cloud platform,…) everybody gets excited and nobody asks if somebody has done any research on whether the new language is better than existing ones. They always give it at least the benefit of the doubt.

I wonder why this is not the case with MDE. Maybe the memories of the UML fever still hurt. Maybe there is something intrinsic in MDE that repels people. Maybe we should stop doing research on new MDE technologies and instead try to understand how we could change people’s perception and make MDE cool. That would probably the biggest advancement in the field of the last 10 years!

Two last things:

  • We do have some proof about the benefits of modeling (see an example) but this is not the topic of this post
  • I’m not saying that cool technologies do not bring any benefit (nor that right now we don’t have proof of that). I’m highlighting they were massively adopted before that proof existed.
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