The iPhone at EclipseCon 2010

The EclipseCon 2010 was a huge success not only for our flagship project Xtext. As mentioned by Sven and Jan before, we gratefully received the Eclipse Community Award and enthusiastically delivered more than 6 talks around model-driven software development. But beyond that, it’s been the first international conference where you could learn about a new area of itemis’ activities: mobile applications.

Generated iPhone app

100% Generated iPhone app of my EclipseCon talk

During my talk on Monday (slides on slideshare), I argued how you can leverage the ideas of MDSD to be more efficient when building iPhone apps with the help of domain-specific languages. To prove this, I built a running iPhone application in front of the audience in just 12 minutes. That application was able to browse the corporate blog of itemis as well as an index of itemis speakers and talks available at EclipseCon. From any screen you could jump to related bits of information. Everything was being loaded on demand and behaved like every other native application on the iPhone – since it is a native app. And the coolest thing: All this without leaving Eclipse!

As you can read in the interview I gave to The Bitsource I understand this particular demo app as an example. It represents an important part of many apps you can find in the stores today and the provided results are substitutional for the whole group of data-centric mobile applications itemis is going to deliver with the powerful help of MDSD.

Me holding the iPhone Mars Rover app. Click the image to watch a video of the iPhone Mars Rover app.

A rather unusual event we stumbled upon was the EclipseCon Mars Rover Challenge held in cooperation with the NASA JPL. It’s idea was to create the very best robotic control system to drive a robot across a prototypical Mars landscape. And guess what? Peter and I set out to deliver an iPhone application to do so.

To make a long and amusing story short, we came up with a vibrating and blinking iPhone app that allows you to steer the robot by tilting the device. Popular Science, Mashable, Slashdot and many other news sites caught up quickly – so we decided to publish a dedicated website ( discussing the details and providing more images on that particular application. At this point I want to thank Carsten and Michael for their invaluable help building that site. It’s a pleasure to work with such talented people.

And regarding the Mars Rover app: In future, we will most probably give droids the chance to hold that app in their hands – stay tuned!

Yes, itemis truly enters the market of mobile applications. And this goes way beyond ordinary iPhone, Android or Symbian apps. We are currently working on something that will knock your socks off! But that’s still a #secretproject…

Update 04/15/10: Dzone interviewed Peter and me about the aforementioned talk as well as the Mars Rover app. Read more details over there.


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  1. Timo John says:

    And once again I am 100% impressed!!! Great work!

  2. Model Driven iPhone Application Development…

    Peter Friese and Heiko Behrens have been blogging (check this and this links) about using MDD techniques to efficiently build native iPhone applications with the help of domain-specific languages….

  3. Costa says:

    Just an amazing work!!!

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