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The 4th OOPSLA Workshop on Domain - Specific Modeling Group reports. 24 October 2004 Vancouver, Canada. Working groups. F ocus on a specific topic Parallel groups DSM practice MDA context Tools Transformations The goal of those groups is to establish theoretical background

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The 4th oopsla workshop on domain specific modeling group reports

The 4th OOPSLA Workshop on Domain-Specific ModelingGroup reports

24 October 2004

Vancouver, Canada

Working groups
Working groups

  • Focus on a specific topic

  • Parallel groups

    • DSM practice

    • MDA context

    • Tools

    • Transformations

  • The goal of those groups is to

    • establish theoretical background

    • summarise past experience

    • investigate most interesting approaches

    • identify future research topics

  • Groups present their results for discussion

Group 1 dsm practice group

Group 1DSM Practice Group

Dsm practice report
DSM Practice Report

  • Background and basic assumptions

    • Extreme opposites agree that DSM is useful

    • Have good knowledge and definition of domain

    • Target output language is close to the domain

    • Agreement on abstractions and design flow

  • What has been done

    • Share experiences

      • Methodology is an ad hoc process

      • Coming to a consensus can be difficult

      • Measuring quality can be difficult

        • Often there is no ”right” answer

    • Industry state of the art

      • Language metamodeling for constructing DSME’s

      • Few language designers and many framework/library developers

  • Collect "hot topics" in DSMs

    • Language evolution and transformations

    • Defining the language development and evolution characteristics

    • Language Testing and Debugging

  • Future research topics

    • Going beyond boxes and arrows

    • Going beyond static structure/behavior

    • Verification and Integration

    • Development support

Dsm practices
DSM Practices

  • Why and when DSMs are chosen?

    • Domain complexity reduction

    • Lack of experts (in both domain and in programming)

    • Large user/usage base

    • Reduction of the learning curve

    • Single model but multiple targets

    • Legacy code/tool integration

  • Organisational issues of DSM introduction

    • Achieving a consensus on language design

    • Getting management/user feedback and support

    • Development time and cost/benefit analysis/justification

      • productivity and quality improvements

  • Is there some systematic methodological support for DSM creation

    • Over defining vs Under defining of the language

      • adding vs pruning

    • the ”to be” language vs the ”as is” language

    • the development process

      • user base (one user vs. thousands)

Group 2 dsm with mda

Group 2DSM with MDA


  • Laurie Tratt, King's College London

  • Jerome Delatour, ESEO/TRAME

  • Grant Emanuel, University of North Dakota

  • Kim Jin, SolutionsIQ

  • Anna Gerber, DSTC

  • Robert France, Colorado State University

  • Andy Evans, Xactium

The 4th oopsla workshop on domain specific modeling group reports

  • Abstract Syntax vs Concrete (graphical syntax)

  • EMOF or CMOF?

  • Domain-specific meta-meta models?

  • Do we need Meta-Meta models? To some extent it doesn’t matter what meta-meta model you use (if you don't believe in the 4 layer modelling hierarchy)

    • You can create any meta-model you want

The 4th oopsla workshop on domain specific modeling group reports

  • Little industry acceptance

  • OCL 2.0 is a monster - difficult to read and understand

  • What is the intention of using OCL here?

  • Specification of constraints is undervalued in industry (constraints often implicit)

  • Difficult to use to communicate with customer

  • Constraints specification often not complete


  • What is the role of constraints in meta-modelling?

    • Good at capturing pre/post conditions and simple constraints

    • Class Diagram considered as a constraint

      • but additional constraints necessary through languages like OCL (or DSL, or natural language)

  • Constraints are not enough

    • Meta-model operations underused

      • (perhaps because MOF does not specify how operations are implemented, so they are not often used)

      • One use case: constraint enforcement through operations

Constraints continued
Constraints (continued)

  • Is OCL a good choice?

    • Expressive power not a problem

    • Syntactic issues: too much effort to express constraints

    • Better tool support needed

    • Unclear checking/execution semantics

  • so no, not really…

Constraints continued1
Constraints (continued)

  • So, how to represent constraints?

    • Fix OCL

      • Better syntax?

      • Extension

    • Functional programs?

    • Other constraint languages:

      • Alloy

      • Domain-specific constraint languages?

The 4th oopsla workshop on domain specific modeling group reports

  • UML is a one-size-fits-all approach

  • Popular in industry

    • Off the shelf solutions less intimidating than Domain-Specific solutions

  • Extension Capabilities

    • Hack the standard: cut and paste modelling

    • UML 1.4 profiles of limited use, have problems

    • UML 2.0 profiles based on composition

      • Support light-weight extension

      • Heavy-weight extension (ie new elements added) using MOF, but the model is no longer UML

  • Not suitable for DSM

Dsm as cim pim or psm

  • Meaningless as absolute terms - relative terms/roles only

    • Hence DSMs can be PIMs or PSMs, depending on the role they play in MDA

  • CIM is just a type of PIM

  • New MDA statement talks about levels of abstraction instead of PIM/PSM

When to change the metamodel dsm instead of extend uml
When to change the metamodel (DSM) instead of extend UML?

  • When to re-use UML/MOF or create a new meta-model? (Extension or Instantiation)

    • Extend UML if your DSM is very similar to UML (and you only want to add to it)

    • Extending UML provides advantage of being able to use existing UML tools for visualisation/editing

    • Defining a new MOF meta-model avoids issues with having to ignore/change UML semantics

Group 3 dsm tools

Group 3DSM Tools

Group 3 tools
Group 3: Tools

  • Classification:

    • A CASE tool that supports a particular language

      (instantiation of types defined in a metamodel)

    • Tools for building such DS CASE tools

      • Programmed from scratch (ad-hoc)

      • Using frameworks

      • Generate most of a DS CASE tool

      • Generate everything for DS CASE tools

      • CAME as an iterative process of defining a language

  • What else than ”generating” model editors?

    • Process models currently not supported. Do process models make sense?

    • Workflow-supported modeling.

    • Balance between a creative process and the possibility to check syntax / semantics.

    • Checking every user action is not a good idea.

Group 3 tools1
Group 3: Tools

  • Generators

    • Different approaches appropriate for different targets (XML, Java, documentation)

    • Dependent on the model traversal strategy

    • Example-based code generation

  • How many people should work on a metamodel?

    • Just one?

    • E.g., a metamodel with 600 element types

    • Do XP principles apply to DS Metamodel development (pair programming, test first, collective model ownership

  • Is there a grand universal metametamodel?

    • MOF, GOPPRL, MetaGME

    • Defining a concrete syntax for a language is difficult in MOF

Group 3 tools2
Group 3: Tools

  • Versioning

    • Source safe

  • Metamodel evolution

    • Versioning required

    • Graph transformations: model based on MM1 <-> model based on MM2

    • A detailed classification of changes permitted to the metamodel is needed (e.g., additional attribute not a problem)

Group 4 transformations

Group 4Transformations

Different dimensions of transformation translation

Transformation (abstraction)


Transformation within the same level of abstraction

E.g., Model transformation, code refactoring, tool integration, optimizations, evolutions

Vertical translation

Translation, or synthesis, between layers of abstraction

E.g., MIC interpreters, reverse engineering

Transformation (specification)



Semi (a bit of both)

Transformation (by artifact)

Abstract Syntax/ Concrete/ Semantics

Different-Dimensions of Transformation/Translation


ComputePositionwith LockingC++


Factoring transformation for compilation interpretation
Factoring Transformation for compilation/interpretation

  • Advantages of factoring

    • Reuse/composition of transformations

    • Modularity

    • Easier to extend

Domain independent optimization


Code gen


code optimization

What is the optimal formalism for transformations model compilers
What is the optimal formalism for transformations/model compilers?

  • Pure General Purpose Language

  • GPL + Abstraction framework (API)

  • Proprietary scripting language

  • Graph grammars, transformations

  • Operational / Natural Semantics

  • Action Semantics

  • Other ??

Future directions of meta modeling with transformations
Future Directions of Meta-Modeling with Transformations compilers?

  • Goal: powerful modeling language that allows both modeling and meta-modeling

  • Generation of models from specifications

  • Composition of models under correctness-preserving conditions

Challenge question
Challenge Question compilers?

  • In DSM, the metamodel seems to be (in current practice) the primary artifact for capturing evolution. How do we correspondingly evolve all of the other artifacts (e.g., model compilers, test cases, instance models)