Monthly Archives: July 2016

The forthcoming second edition of the Xtext book

The second edition of the Xtext book should be published soon! In the meantime it is already available for preorders. At the time of writing, you can benefit for discounts and preorder it at 10$.


I’ll detail the differences and novelties of this second edition.

But, first things first! A huge thank you to , for reviewing this second edition, and a special thank you to Sven Efftinge, for writing the foreword to this second edition. I am also grateful to itemis Schweiz, and in particular, to Serano Colameo for sponsoring the writing of this book.

While working on this second edition, I updated all the contents of the previous edition in order to make them up to date with respect to what Xtext provides in the most recent release (at the time of writing, it is 2.10).

All the examples have been rewritten from scratch. The main examples, Entities, Expressions and SmallJava, are still there, but many parts of the DSLs, including their features and implementations, have been modified and improved, focusing on efficient implementation techniques and the best practices I learned in these years. Thus, while the features of most of the main example DSLs of the book is the same as in the first edition, their implementation is completely new.

Moreover, In the last chapters, many more examples are also introduced.

Chapter 11 on Continuous Integration, which in the previous edition was called “Building and Releasing”, has been completely rewritten and it is now based on Maven/Tycho and on Gradle, since Xtext now provides a project wizard that also creates a build configuration for these build tools. Building with Maven/Tycho is described in more details in the chapter, and Gradle is briefly described. This new chapter also briefly describes the new Xtext features: DSL editor on the web and also on IntelliJ.

I also added a brand new chapter at the end of the book, Chapter 13 “Advanced Topics”, with much more advanced material and techniques that are useful when your DSL grows in size and features. For example, the chapter will show how to manually maintain the Ecore model for your DSL in several ways, including Xcore. This chapter also presents an advanced example that extends Xbase, including the customization of its type system and compiler. An introduction to Xbase is still presented in Chapter 12, as in the previous edition, but with more details.

As in the previous edition, the book fosters unit testing a lot. An entire chapter, Chapter 7 “Testing”, is still devoted to testing all aspects of an Xtext DSL implementation.

Most chapters, as in the previous edition, still have a tutorial nature.

Summarizing, while the title and the subject of most chapters is still the same, their contents have been completely reviewed, extended and, hopefully, improved.
If you enjoyed the first edition of the book and found it useful, I hope you’ll like this second edition even more.

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HiDPI in KDE Plasma

HiDPI support in KDE Plasma has been recently improved! I’m afraid what’s not improved is the procedure for using that. In this post I’ll detail the steps to use HiDPI with KDE if you have a high resolution display (for example, I have that in my Linux Dell M3800).

Remember that the settings you change will not be applied completely until you logout and login again into KDE.

First of all, you need to go in Settings, then

Display and Monitor” -> “Display Configuration“. If you scroll down you see a “Scale Display” button


Click on that and in the “Screen Scaling” dialog, drag the “Scale” in the middle, corresponding to a scale factor of 2 and press OK.


Then go back to the main page of Settings, select “Font“, and force to the DPI font to 168. (or even more if you want).


Apply the settings, logout and login again into KDE and you’ll enjoy your HiDPI display with a scale factor of 2, which basically means it will be usable 🙂

Be warned, KDE applications will look correctly, but there’ll still be other applications which might not have been implemented with HiDPI in mind… and they’ll still look horrible even with the scaling you set.

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