DropsBox: the Dresden Open Software Toolbox

Domain-specific modelling tools beyond metamodels and transformations


The Dresden Open Software Toolbox (DropsBox) is a software modelling toolbox consisting of a set of open source tools developed by the Software Technology Group at TU Dresden. The DropsBox is built on top of the Eclipse Platform and the Eclipse Modeling Framework. The DropsBox contributes to the development and application of domain-specific language changes (DSLs) in model-driven software development. It can be customised by tool and language developers to support various activities of a DSL’s life cycle ranging from language design to language application and evolution. In this paper, we provide an overview of the DSL life cycle, the DropsBox tools, and their interaction on a common example. Furthermore, we discuss our experiences in developing and integrating tools for DropsBox in an academic environment.

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This research is co-funded by the European Commission within the 6th and 7th Framework Programme projects MODELPLEX #034081, REWERSE #506779, and MOST #216691; the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the Projects feasiPLe and SuReal; the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the Project HyperAdapt; the European Social Fund, Federal State of Saxony and SAP AG within the Project #080949335 and the European Social Fund and Federal State of Saxony within the Projects #080951806 (ZESSY), #80937064 and #080937065. Also, we would like to thank all our students, the research community, and our industrial project partners for their valuable feedback on all the tools we have built over the last years. Without their constructive comments and their encouraging words, building DropsBox would have not been possible. Last but not least, we thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful feedback. Their large effort in reviewing the paper helped us in enhancing the presentation of our work and to provide a more readable paper.

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Correspondence to Jendrik Johannes.

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Communicated by Dr. Jeff Gray, Juha-Pekka Tolvanen, and Matti Rossi.

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Aßmann, U., Bartho, A., Bürger, C. et al. DropsBox: the Dresden Open Software Toolbox. Softw Syst Model 13, 133–169 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10270-012-0284-6

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  • Domain-specific modelling environment
  • Domain-specific language
  • Language life cycle
  • Modelling tool
  • MDSD
  • EMF