Phillippe Tjon-A-Hen loves creating elegant IT solutions for his clients. For his current client, a major Dutch bank, he works as an Application Engineer. In this role he is responsible for the implementation of an architecture for Java developments. Philippe has been with Ordina for seventeen years. His goal is to be able to automatically produce high-quality, easy-to-maintain Java applications.
Why did you choose MetaFactory?
‘MetaFactory releases programmers from the boring, repetitive aspects of programming,’ says Philippe. ‘We continuously improve my client’s IT architecture. MetaFactory not only allows us to develop faster, it also makes it easier for us to maintain our code. Older applications need to be modelled after the latest insights and conventions, which is nearly impossible to do manually without losing your mind. MetaFactory lets you do this at the push of a button. We run a regression test and then all software is completely in line with our latest insights and needs. To give you an example: our client uses the Spring framework. When a new version of Spring is released, you naturally want to update all existing software. Doing so is very easy with MetaFactory.’
MetaFactory versus MDA tools
MetaFactory is a Software Development Automation (SDA) tool. The main difference with Model-Driven Architecture (MDA) tools is the level of control you get. ‘It’s the developer or architect who decides what code is being generated, not the tool,’ Philippe explains. ‘This allows you to retain full control over the performance, the design, everything. In the end, MetaFactory generates Java code, XML and everything that comes with it.’
No strings attached
Once you have set up an application in MetaFactory, you will definitely want to continue working with MetaFactory. But you don’t have to, says Philippe. ‘You can say goodbye to MetaFactory whenever you want. The beauty of it is that you will then be able keep developing the code you have generated. Learning how to use MetaFactory is easy. It took me half a day to pick up the principles and start working with it. The average Java developer won’t need more than a day to learn the ins and outs.’
Philippe has a few things he would like to see added, such as the ability to use MetaFactory as a plugin for Maven. That would make it even easier to use MetaFactory for code generation in a continuous build.
Even though it is still too early to put figures on it, the cost reduction for large development departments has been substantial. ‘You’re always looking for ways to change your code, for ways to improve it. With MetaFactory you can easily adapt your existing software according to new insights. It allows you to develop faster, spend less time on maintenance and preserve the knowledge you already have. The old code also remains predictable and recognizable.’
Philippe’s opinion: ‘MetaFactory releases me from the boring, repetitive aspects of programming.’