Model-Driven Language Modernization

The introduction of Extensible Markup Language (XML) represented a tremendous leap towards the design of Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs). Although XML-based languages are well adopted and flexible, their generic editors miss modern DSL editor functionality. Additionally, artifacts defined with such languages lack comprehensibility and, therefore, maintainability, because XML has primarily been designed as a machine-processable format with immutable concrete syntax. While there exist techniques to migrate XML-based languages to modeling languages, they are composed of manual steps demanding complex language engineering skills that are usually not part of a domain engineer’s skill set. To tackle these shortcomings, we propose a bridge between XML-based languages and text-based modeling languages. This includes the automated and customizable generation of Xtext-based editors from XML schema definitions (XSDs) providing advanced editor functionality, individualized textual concrete syntax style, and round-trip transformations enabling the exchange of data between the two languages. For the evaluation of the approach, we plan to conduct case studies as well as user studies based on industrial-strength markup languages that will be transformed to textual modeling languages including editors that are intended to be at least as powerful as those manually built for XML-based languages.

Patrick Neubauer. Towards Model-Driven Software Language Modernization. Joint Proceedings of the Doctoral Symposium and Projects Showcase Held as Part of STAF 2016 co-located with Software Technologies: Applications and Foundations (STAF 2016): 11-20.

Patrick Neubauer
Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Dott.