Software & Systems Modeling

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 733–756 | Cite as

Query-driven soft traceability links for models

  • Ábel HegedüsEmail author
  • Ákos Horváth
  • István Ráth
  • Rodrigo Rizzi Starr
  • Dániel Varró
Regular Paper


Model repositories play a central role in the model driven development of complex software-intensive systems by offering means to persist and manipulate models obtained from heterogeneous languages and tools. Complex models can be assembled by interconnecting model fragments by hard links, i.e., regular references, where the target end points to external resources using storage-specific identifiers. This approach, in certain application scenarios, may prove to be a too rigid and error prone way of interlinking models. As a flexible alternative, we propose to combine derived features with advanced incremental model queries as means for soft interlinking of model elements residing in different model resources. These soft links can be calculated on-demand with graceful handling for temporarily unresolved references. In the background, the links are maintained efficiently and flexibly by using incremental model query evaluation. The approach is applicable to modeling environments or even property graphs for representing query results as first-class relations, which also allows the chaining of soft links that is useful for modular applications. The approach is evaluated using the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) and EMF-IncQuery in two complex industrial case studies. The first case study is motivated by a knowledge management project from the financial domain, involving a complex interlinked structure of concept and business process models. The second case study is set in the avionics domain with strict traceability requirements enforced by certification standards (DO-178b). It consists of multiple domain models describing the allocation scenario of software functions to hardware components.


Soft links Incremental model queries Derived features Traceability 



We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ábel Hegedüs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ákos Horváth
    • 1
  • István Ráth
    • 1
  • Rodrigo Rizzi Starr
    • 2
  • Dániel Varró
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Measurement and Information SystemsBudapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Embraer S.A. Av Brigadeiro Faria LimaSão José dos CamposBrazil

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