A semi-automatic approach for bridging DSMLs with UML

M. Wimmer:
"A semi-automatic approach for bridging DSMLs with UML";
International Journal of Web Information Systems (IJWIS),5(2009), 3; S. 372 - 404.

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Abstract:


Purpose - The definition of modeling languages is a key-prerequisite for model-driven engineering. In this respect, Domain-Specific Modeling Languages (DSMLs) defined from scratch in terms of metamodels and the extension of Unified Modeling Language (UML) by profiles are the proposed options. For interoperability reasons, however, the need arises to bridge modeling languages originally defined as DSMLs to UML. Therefore, the paper aims to propose a semi-automatic approach for bridging DSMLs and UML by employing model-driven techniques.

Design/methodology/approach - The paper discusses problems of the ad hoc integration of DSMLs and UML and from this discussion a systematic and semi-automatic integration approach consisting of two phases is derived. In the first phase, the correspondences between the modeling concepts of the DSML and UML are defined manually. In the second phase, these correspondences are used for automatically producing UML profiles to represent the domain-specific modeling concepts in UML and model transformations for transforming DSML models to UML models and vice versa. The paper presents the ideas within a case study for bridging ComputerAssociate's DSML of the AllFusion Gen CASE tool with IBM's Rational Software Modeler for UML.

Findings - The ad hoc definition of UML profiles and model transformations for achieving interoperability is typically a tedious and error-prone task. By employing a semi-automatic approach one gains several advantages. First, the integrator only has to deal with the correspondences between the DSML and UML on a conceptual level. Second, all repetitive integration tasks are automated by using model transformations. Third, well-defined guidelines support the systematic and comprehensible integration.

Research limitations/implications - The paper focuses on the integrating direction DSMLs to UML, but not on how to derive a DSML defined in terms of a metamodel from a UML profile.

Originality/value - Although, DSMLs defined as metamodels and UML profiles are frequently applied in practice, only few attempts have been made to provide interoperability between these two worlds. The contribution of this paper is to integrate the so far competing worlds of DSMLs and UML by proposing a semi-automatic approach, which allows exchanging models between these two worlds without loss of information.