05.10.14 - 10.10.14, Seminar 14412

Globalizing Domain-Specific Languages

The following text appeared on our web pages prior to the seminar, and was included as part of the invitation.


Model Driven Engineering (MDE) aims to reduce the accidental complexity associated with developing complex software-intensive systems, through the development of technologies that enable developers to systematically create, evolve, analyse, and transform various forms of abstract system models.

Current MDE language workbenches, in both academia and industry, support the development of Domain-Specific Modeling Languages (DSMLs) that can be used to create models that play pivotal roles in different development phases. Language workbenches such as EMF, Metaedit+ or MPS support the specification of the abstract syntax, concrete syntax and the static and dynamic semantics of a DSML. These workbenches aim to address the needs of DSML developers in a variety of application domains.

The development of modern complex software-intensive systems often involves the use of multiple DSMLs that capture different system aspects. In addition, models of the system aspects are seldom manipulated independently of each other. System engineers are thus faced with the difficult task of relating information presented in different models. Current DSML development workbenches provide good support for developing independent DSMLs, but provide little or no support for integrated use of multiple DSMLs. The lack of support for explicitly relating concepts expressed in different DSMLs (incl., syntax and semantics) makes it very difficult for developers to reason about information spread across models describing different system aspects.

Supporting coordinated use of DSMLs leads to what we call the globalization of modeling languages, that is, the use of multiple modeling languages to support coordinated development of diverse aspects of a system.

Discussions during the seminar will focus on how multiple heterogeneous modeling languages (or DSMLs) will need to be related to determine how different aspects of a system influence each other. We have identified three forms of relationships among DSMLs that can be used as a starting point for discussions: interoperability, collaboration, and composition. These forms of language integration will need to address challenging issues that arise from the heterogeneity of modeling languages. Relationships among the languages will need to be explicitly defined in a form that corresponding tools can use to realize the desired interactions. Requirements for tool manipulation is thus another topic that will be discussed in the seminar.

The goal of the seminar is to develop a research program that broadens the current DSML research focus beyond the development of independent DSMLs to one that provides support for globalized DSMLs. In the globalized DSMLs vision, integrated DSMLs provide the means for teams working on systems that span many specialized domains and concerns to determine how their work on a particular aspect influences work on other aspects.