A Comparison of Rule Inheritance in Model-to-Model Transformation Languages

Manuel Wimmer, Gerti Kappel, Angelika Kusel, Werner Retschitzegger, Johannes Schoenboeck, Wieland Schwinger, Dimitris Kolovos, Richard F. Paige, Marius Lauder, Andy Schürr, Dennis Wagelaar. A Comparison of Rule Inheritance in Model-to-Model Transformation Languages. In Jordi Cabot, Eelco Visser, editors, Theory and Practice of Model Transformations, Fourth International Conference, ICMT 2011, Zurich, Switzerland, June 27-28, 2011. Proceedings. Volume 6707 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 31-46, Springer, 2011.


Although model transformations presumably play a major role in Model-Driven Engineering, reuse mechanisms such as inheritance have received little attention so far. In this paper, we propose a comparison framework for rule inheritance in declarative model-to-model transformation languages, and provide an in-depth evaluation of three prominent representatives thereof, namely ATL, ETL (declarative subsets thereof), and TGGs. The framework provides criteria for comparison along orthogonal dimensions, covering static aspects, which indicate whether a set of inheriting transformation rules is well-formed at compile-time, and dynamic aspects, which describe how inheriting rules behave at run-time. The application of this framework to dedicated transformation languages shows that, while providing similar syntactical inheritance concepts, they exhibit different dynamic inheritance semantics and offer basic support for checking static inheritance constraints, only.