Getting Things Done: The Eelco Way

Author Arie van Deursen

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Arie van Deursen
  • Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

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Arie van Deursen. Getting Things Done: The Eelco Way. In Eelco Visser Commemorative Symposium (EVCS 2023). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 109, pp. 1:1-1:4, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


Eelco Visser (1966-2022) was a leading member of the department of Software Technology (ST) of the faculty of Electrical Engineering Mathematics, and Computer Science (EEMCS) of Delft University of Technology. He had a profound influence on the educational programs in computer science at TU Delft, built a highly successful Programming Languages Group from the ground up, and used his research results to develop widely used tools and services that have been used by thousands of students and researchers for more than a decade. He realized all these successes not just alone, but in close collaboration with a range of people, who he convinced to follow his lead. In this short reflection, I look back at his achievements, and at the way in which he worked with others to bring ambitious ideas to successful reality.

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  • Social and professional topics
  • Leadership


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  1. Mark van den Brand, Arie van Deursen, Jan Heering, Hayco de Jong, Merijn de Jonge, Tobias Kuipers, Paul Klint, Leon Moonen, Pieter A. Olivier, Jeroen Scheerder, Jurgen J. Vinju, Eelco Visser, and Joost Visser. The ASF+SDF meta-environment: A component-based language development environment. In Proc. 10th Int. Conf. on Compiler Construction (CC 2001), volume 2027 of LNCS, pages 365-370. Springer, 2001. URL:
  2. Luis Eduardo de Souza Amorim and Eelco Visser. Multi-purpose syntax definition with SDF3. In 18th International Conference on Software Engineering and Formal Methods (SEFM 2020), volume 12310 of LNCS, pages 1-23. Springer, 2020. URL:
  3. Arie van Deursen, Jan Heering, and Paul Klint, editors. Language Prototyping. An Algebraic Specification Approach, volume 5 of AMAST Series in Computing. World Scientific, 1996. Google Scholar
  4. Arie van Deursen and Eelco Visser. The Reengineering Wiki. In 6th European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering (CSMR 2002), 11-13 March 2002, Budapest, Hungary, Proceedings, pages 217-220. IEEE Computer Society, 2002. URL:
  5. Arie van Deursen, Eelco Visser, and Jos Warmer. Model-driven software evolution: A research agenda. In Proc. 1st Int. Workshop on Model-Driven Software Evolution, pages 41-49, 2007. URL:
  6. Eelco Dolstra, Merijn de Jonge, and Eelco Visser. Nix: A safe and policy-free system for software deployment. In Proceedings of the 18th Conference on Systems Administration (LISA 2004), Atlanta, USA, November 14-19, 2004, pages 79-92. USENIX, 2004. URL:
  7. Eelco Dolstra, Eelco Visser, and Merijn de Jonge. Imposing a memory management discipline on software deployment. In 26th ACM/IEEE Int. Conf. on Software Engineering (ICSE 2004), pages 583-592, 2004. URL:
  8. Danny M. Groenewegen, Zef Hemel, Lennart C. L. Kats, and Eelco Visser. WebDSL: a domain-specific language for dynamic web applications. In Companion to the 23rd Annual ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications (OOPSLA 2008), pages 779-780. ACM, 2008. URL:
  9. Lennart C. L. Kats and Eelco Visser. The Spoofax language workbench: rules for declarative specification of languages and IDEs. In Proc. 25th Conf. on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications (OOPSLA). ACM, 2010. URL:
  10. Tim van der Lippe, Thomas Smith, Daniël A. A. Pelsmaeker, and Eelco Visser. A scalable infrastructure for teaching concepts of programming languages in Scala with WebLab: an experience report. In Proceedings of the 7th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Scala, SCALA@SPLASH 2016, pages 65-74. ACM, 2016. URL:
  11. William Shadish, Thomas Cook, and Donald Cambell. Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2002. Google Scholar
  12. Eelco Visser. Syntax Definition for Language Prototyping. PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam, September 1997. Google Scholar
  13. Eelco Visser. WebDSL: A case study in domain-specific language engineering. In Generative and Transformational Techniques in Software Engineering II (GTTSE) 2007, volume 5235 of LNCS, pages 291-373. Springer, 2007. URL:
  14. Guido Wachsmuth, Gabriël Konat, and Eelco Visser. Language design with the Spoofax language workbench. IEEE Software, 31(5):35-43, 2014. URL:
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