Fundamental Limitations in Domain-Specific Language Evolution

Jonathan Sprinkle, Jeffrey G. Gray, Marjan Mernik. Fundamental Limitations in Domain-Specific Language Evolution. Technical Report TR-090831, University of Arizona, 1230 E. Speedway Blvd., Bldg. 104, August 2009.


In this paper we address language engineering issues surrounding domain-specific modeling languages (DSMLs). By definition, such languages track the domain, meaning that changesto the domain require changes to the DSML in order toprovide an intuitive specification of domain-specific programs or models. For this work, our primary focus is on fundamental limitations that affectthe preservation of semantics during domain model evolution. Wespecifically address fundamental limitations in semantics-preservingtransformations, and/or the implementation of algorithms that specify suchtransformations. This work has profound implications for language engineers who are planning for the maintenance of models, or designing model transformations for the purpose of preserving semantics. We provide abrief representative example from the discipline of hybrid systems, where suchresults can be interpreted.