Chinese IT and tech podcasts

While I am working mainly in the domain of software engineering for automotive software, I try to keep up with general development in IT to see which technologies can be relevant for the toolchains and software engineering in complex technical systems and in general. A good way to do that is to listen to podcasts – and I try to combine that with keeping my Chinese language skills up to date by listening to Chinese tech podcasts. Information about the podcasts is dispersed over a few sites in the internet, so I’ll provide a list of my favourites. I am just listing the web sites without much comments, please have a look at the content yourself.


New AUTOSAR Open Source Initiative from Asia – TOPPERS

Relatively unnoticed by the Western industry, a lot of interesting activities in (automotive) software engineering are currently being launched in Asia.

During the China Automotive Forum, the Toppers team from Japan announced their plans to build an open source AUTOSAR basic software based on the Toppers OS. The chinese announcement can be found as a PDF here, titled “The current state of developing an AUTOSAR-compliant open-source OS”.

Basically, they currently have a OSEK/VDX operating system called “TOPPERS/ATK1” that is reported to be used in several of Suzuki’s cars. It is described as MODISTARC and MISRA-C complient, supporting a CAN/LIN middleware and a FlexRay add-on.

The project goal is to “make public the source code” in 2012 under the label “TOPPERS/ATK2”. In the “basic phase” during 2008 until 2010, the project dealt with an AUTOSAR OS (AUTOSAR SC1 to SC3) and multi-core.

Listed participating parties are, amongst others: Toshiba, Renesas, Toyota, Fuji Soft and Denso . There seem to be around 12 technical personnel from the companies involved and about 8 professors and researches from Nagoya university.

The current research phase is from April 2011 until Mar 2012. Depending on the results of this phase, the continuation of the project will be determined. It seems that except for the verification suite, which will be only released to members, other projects results will be released as open source.

Mentioned problematic aspects are the vast size of the standard, which requires a lot of implementation effort, the new multicore aspects and the efforts required to get a grasp of the standard.




Installing Trufun UML Plato Free Edition

Last year I had already mentioned a free chinese UML tool in articles etc. I think it could be worthwhile investigating. However, since the website is all in Chinese, finding and downloading it is a problem for most Western people. Which is a pity, since the tool itself has both a Chinese and an English user interface.

The Home Page of Trufun is , downloads are at The tools are based on Eclipse 3.5 (Galileo), but I just installed the Update-Version in Helios and it seems to run fine. Download and extract it into your Eclipse installation.

After starting your Eclipse, you are asked to update to the latest version. Don’t do this, this didn’t work on my installation. You can create new models with New->Other->Trufun UML Modeling.

Trufun stores its models as .tmx, which is a variant of uml2tools’ .uml format and can be converted with some tricks, so you can use Xpand etc. to use Xpand, Acceleo and other tools on the model. I will write about that in a later post.

MDSD – a trend in Asia, too

I have been following the development / adoption of MDSD in China for a while. The blogging community does not seem to be as active as in Europe, since there are only a few blogs where MDSD is addressed and the search engine hits for MDSD in Chinese often refer to articles about MDA from the mid 200x.

However, there is more activity in print. Having discovered a chinese websearch for magazine research ( I was interested in a little statistics and tracked the number of published articles on “model driven” (模型驱动).

Another keyword that yields a lot of result is MDA.  One of our main points of focus in European business, the use of domain specific languages is not yet a major subject in Chinese magazines. Searches result 2-3 hits in 2008 and 2009. It will be interesting to watch the future trends. The chinese already have produced one of the nicer UML tools based on Eclipse (

Another kind of domain specific

On the lighter side of DSLs, Xtext 0.8M5 fixes a bug with unicode characters. It is now possible to use Unicode characters in literals of your grammar.

So the example grammar of new Xtext Projects in Chinese could look like this:


Of course, content assist and outline are fully supported:


All you have to do is to set Eclipse to use UTF-8 for the workspace through Window->Preferences->General->Workspace.

And, with a little overloading of the ID terminal, like this:

terminal ID :
‘^’?(‘a’..’z’|’A’..’Z’|’_’|’一’..’é¾¥’) (‘a’..’z’|’A’..’Z’|’_’|’0′..’9’|’一’..’é¾¥’)* ;

You can even use chinese characters as IDs: