, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 453-471
Date: 19 Aug 2009

Synchronization of abstract and concrete syntax in domain-specific modeling languages

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Modern domain-specific modeling (DSM) frameworks provide refined techniques for developing new languages based on the clear separation of conceptual elements of the language (called abstract syntax) and their graphical visual representation (called concrete syntax). This separation is usually achieved by recording traceability information between the abstract and concrete syntax using mapping models. However, state-of-the-art DSM frameworks impose severe restrictions on traceability links between elements of the abstract syntax and the concrete syntax. In the current paper, we propose a mapping model which allows to define arbitrarily complex mappings between elements of the abstract and concrete syntax. Moreover, we demonstrate how live model transformations can complement mapping models in providing bidirectional synchronization and implicit traceability between models of the abstract and the concrete syntax. In addition, we introduce a novel architecture for DSM environments which enables these concepts, and provide an overview of the tool support.

Communicated by Prof. Richard Paige.