REVIEW - MDA Distilled - Principles of Model-driven Architecture


MDA Distilled

Principles of Model-driven Architecture


Stephen J. Mellor, Kendall Scott, Axel Uhl, Dirk Weise



Addison-Wesley Professional (2004)




Nicola Musatti


October 2004



The Model Driven Architecture is an initiative by the OMG Consortium with the ambitious goal of replacing programming with design. This is to be achieved by providing ways to augment design diagrams with enough information to make it possible to automatically generate full applications.

This book is a short, easy to read description of the general principles on which the MDA is based. It only assumes that the reader is familiar with the UML and, possibly, with the relationship between models and metamodels (e.g. how the UML is specified in itself). In my opinion, it is more oriented towards analysts and team leaders, rather than programmers or managers.

The book's worst defect is the lack of concrete examples. The relative youth of the topic and the scarcity of implementations may explain this, but the difficulty in envisioning how the described techniques might work in practice makes the book less convincing than it might be. A great improvement would be the introduction of a detailed case study, so that each chapter could be completed by a few practical examples that showed how each of the MDA features might work in practice.

Another thing I did not like is the authors' apparently conceited attitude, which is better suited for a sales pitch than for a technical book.

Overall, I do not consider this a bad book, but I find it hard to identify a category of readers who might find it really useful. If you're interested in finding out what the Model Driven Architecture really is I think you should start by checking out the documents available from the OMG web site (
); then, if you still feel you would like to read a coherent overview, this book may be a reasonable choice.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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