Juha-Pekka Tolvanen

Keynote title: Languages for non-developers: what, how, where?
Juha-Pekka Tolvanen


Productivity has improved each time programming languages have raised the level of abstraction. This trend continues today with languages that narrow the scope they address – referred to as domain-specific languages (DSLs). However, many of these DSLs are built by developers for developers and tend to concentrate on the solution domain rather than the problem domain. In this talk, I will advocate for languages to be aligned more closely with the problem domain, addressing the needs of domain experts. Such languages enable non-developers to capture and communicate their knowledge, and together with tools support testing, validation, and feedback. Tools can also transform precise knowledge representations into software code and other artifacts. I will provide examples of non-developer languages used by usability experts, safety engineers, insurance experts, and instrumentation experts. These languages differ from traditional programming languages as they aim to align more closely with the domain, representing knowledge through maps, diagrams, or tables rather than with plain text only. The talk will identify key characteristics of non-developer languages and discuss how creating them differs from programming languages. This leads us to envision the role of non-developers in language creation and identify domains in which non-developer languages are more suitable.

About the speaker

Juha-Pekka Tolvanen (jpt@metacase.com) is the CEO of MetaCase. He has been involved in domain-specific approaches and tools, notably metamodeling and code generator development since 1991. Juha-Pekka holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland and received best national dissertation award 1999. He acts as a consultant world-wide for modeling language and code generation development. Juha-Pekka has authored a book (Domain-Specific Modeling, Wiley) and over 100 articles in software development magazines, journals and conferences.

Juha-Pekka Tolvanen's: academic homepage, industry homepage.


Important dates

  • Thematic Track proposal submission: November 28, 2023
  • Paper submission (no extensions): May 28, 2024
  • Position paper submission: June 11, 2024
  • Author notification: July 1, 2024
  • Final paper submission, registration: July 23, 2024
  • Early registration discount: July 23, 2024
  • Conference date: September 8–⁠11, 2024

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