Well this blog went entirely silent because I got heads down into Daffodil, an open source implementation of the Data Format Description Language (DFDL), while working full time for Tresys Technology.
This means there is now a commercial DFDL implementation from IBM which is part of their impressive WebSphere Message Broker product, as well as now an open source implementation. This is important because the standards organization of which the DFDL effort is part, the Open Grid Forum, requires 2 implementations in order to move forward with the standardization process.
IBM's product has been in the marketplace over a year now. The Daffodil open source implementation is producing its first release for early adopters with target date of April 2013. It won't have every bit of DFDL in it, as it is a large specification and of necessity is being implemented in stages, but it will be plenty rich enough to be interesting and to serve as a useful starting point for those interested in DFDL.
The open source Daffodil DFDL implementation is written in a very cool programming language called Scala which runs on the Java virtual machine and shares the Java technology stack. I'm a huge fan of Scala now. I am much more productive in this language than any time since I last worked in Lisp, which was ...egad... back in the 1980's. Scala has substantial advantages over Lisp, in that it is strongly typed. Yet it remains flexible and easy to use.
The Daffodil code base is around 30,000 lines of Scala code and slowly growing, along with 10,000 more lines of unit tests. It also has a suite of around 1000 conformance tests and counting. It's a serious code base with full-time developers and full-time QA/testing working on it.