Prototyping Visual Interpreters and Debuggers for Domain-Specific Modelling Languages

Daniel A. Sadilek, Guido Wachsmuth. Prototyping Visual Interpreters and Debuggers for Domain-Specific Modelling Languages. In Ina Schieferdecker, Alan Hartman, editors, Model Driven Architecture - Foundations and Applications, 4th European Conference, ECMDA-FA 2008, Berlin, Germany, June 9-13, 2008. Proceedings. Volume 5095 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 63-78, Springer, 2008. [doi]


This paper is about visual and executable domain-specific modelling languages (DSMLs) that are used at the platform independent level of the Model-Driven Architecture. We deal with DSMLs that are new or evolve rapidly and, as a consequence, have to be prototyped cheaply. We argue that for prototyping a DSML on the platform independent level, its semantics should not only be described in a transformational but also in an operational fashion. For this, we use standard modelling means, i.e. MOF and QVT Relations. We combine operational semantics descriptions with existing metamodel-based editor creation technology. This allows for cheap prototyping of visual interpreters and debuggers. We exemplify our approach with a language for Petri nets and assess the manual work necessary. Finally, we present EProvide, an implementation of our approach based on the Eclipse platform, and we identify missing features in the Eclipse tools we used.