Authors: Naujokat, Stefan
Title: Heavy meta: model-driven domain-specific generation of generative domain-specific modeling tools
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Software is so prevalent in all areas of life that one could expect we have come up with more simple and intuitive ways for its creation by now. However, software development is still too complicated to easily and efficiently cope with individual demands, customizations, and changes. Model-based approaches promise improvements through a more comprehensible layer of abstraction, but they are rarely fully embraced in practice. They are perceived as being overly complex, imposing additional work, and lacking the flexibility required in the real world. This thesis presents a novel approach to model-driven software engineering that focuses on simplicity through highly specialized tools. Domain experts are provided with development tools tailored to their individual needs, where they can easily specify the intent of the software using their known terms and concepts. This domain specificity (D) is a powerful mechanism to boil down the effort of defining a system to relevant aspects only. Many concepts are set upfront, which imposes a huge potential for automated generation. However, the full potential of domain-specific models can only unfold, if they are used as primary artifacts of development. The presented approach thus combines domain specificity with full generation (F) to achieve an overall pushbutton generation that does not require any round-trip engineering. Furthermore, service orientation (S) introduces a ‘just use’ philosophy of including arbitrarily complex functionality without needing to know their implementation, which also restores flexibility potentially sacrificed by the domain focus. The unique combination of these three DFS properties facilitates a focused, efficient, and flexible simplicity-driven way of software development. Key to the approach is a holistic solution that in particular also covers the simplicity-driven development of the required highly specialized DFS tools, as nothing would be gained if the costs of developing such tools outweighed the resulting benefits. This simplicity is achieved by applying the very same DFS concepts to the domain of tool development itself: DFS modeling tools are fully generated from models and services specialized to the (meta) domain of modeling tools. The presented Cinco meta tooling suite is a first implementation of such a meta DFS tool. It focuses on the generation of graphical modeling tools for graph structures comprising of various types of nodes and edges. Cinco has been very successfully applied to numerous industrial and academic projects, and thus also serves as a proof of concept for the DFS approach itself. The unique combination of the three DFS strategies and Cinco's meta-level approach towards their realization in practice lay the foundation for a new paradigm of software development that is strongly focused on simplicity.
Subject Headings: Domain-specific languages
Graphical modeling
Model-driven software engineering
Full code generation
Service orientation
Software development tools
Subject Headings (RSWK): Modellgetriebene Entwicklung
Serviceorientierte Architektur
Domänenspezifische Programmiersprache
Issue Date: 2017
Appears in Collections:LS 05 Programmiersysteme

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