Exploratory Modeling

by Rob Vens

I saw Exploratory Modelling presented at ESUG 2007. The presentation galvanised me. That was what I have been doing all the time when modelling! Even, sometimes, when I dared, using the Smalltalk environment, even if the models were to be implemented in Java or whatever. But, as will probably happen with others when listening to a presentation or talk: "I would do it differently here, and here, and I would add this, and this...". And other aspects, especially the experience I had built up in modelling, would fall into place as well. These ideas were only whirling around in my head, and it was not until a customer project presented itself that seemed ideally suited, that I was able to put them into practice. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only me: the customer was even more pleasantly surprised, in effect they were completely baffled. They had never experienced modelling sessions this effective, this fun, and this different. I must admit this was a customer ideally suited for this approach because they had a very complex problem domain on which they themselves had only tacit knowledge. And indeed, I venture to say, there are some aspects in the approach I am going to present, that are very different from what many if not most of you would expect, even as Smalltalkers. In the short amount of time I will just do the job: modelling an aspect of a business domain. But my goal will be to give you as many brain-teasers I can that will trigger in you the experience our customer had in the project, and that will help you in modelling more effectively, no: much more effectively, with the customer pleasure bonus thrown in. The approach will enable you to use Smalltalk even in projects that are not building Smalltalk applications, which is good I guess, by showing you how to integrate this into Eclipse or VisualStudio environments.

Bio: Rob Vens has been a Smalltalker since 1988, and a board member of ESUG from 1997 to 2007. A relative late-comer in computer science (Rob got his CS degree in 1990 at an age of 36), Rob has explored many areas of science and life before computers got him hooked. Currently Rob is principal consultant for Sogyo, a small but very energetic company with the guts to explore new ideas and approaches, merging the very best ideas from various programming paradigms to get results, and attracting the talents to do that.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlQx25QCRIk