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From requirements to source code: a Model-Driven Engineering approach for RESTful web services


During the last few years, the REST architectural style has drastically changed the way web services are developed. Due to its transparent resource-oriented model, the RESTful paradigm has been incorporated into several development frameworks that allow rapid development and aspire to automate parts of the development process. However, most of the frameworks lack automation of essential web service functionality, such as authentication or database searching, while the end product is usually not fully compliant to REST. Furthermore, most frameworks rely heavily on domain specific modeling and require developers to be familiar with the employed modeling technologies. In this paper, we present a Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) engine that supports fast design and implementation of web services with advanced functionality. Our engine provides a front-end interface that allows developers to design their envisioned system through software requirements in multimodal formats. Input in the form of textual requirements and graphical storyboards is analyzed using natural language processing techniques and semantics, to semi-automatically construct the input model for the MDE engine. The engine subsequently applies model-to-model transformations to produce a RESTful, ready-to-deploy web service. The procedure is traceable, ensuring that changes in software requirements propagate to the underlying software artefacts and models. Upon assessing our methodology through a case study and measuring the effort reduction of using our tools, we conclude that our system can be effective for the fast design and implementation of web services, while it allows easy wrapping of services that have been engineered with traditional methods to the MDE realm.

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Parts of this work have been supported by the FP7 Collaborative Project S-CASE (Grant Agreement No. 610717), funded by the European Commission. S-CASE aims to provide a cloud-based realm of services and tools for software developers to enable rapid software prototyping based on user requirements and system models, provided in multimodal formats. S-CASE provides automated solutions for (a) the extraction of system specifications and architecture, (b) the transformation of these specifications (models) to the source code of RESTful web services, and (c) the discovery and synthesis of composite workflows of software artefacts from distributed open source and proprietary resources in order to fulfill the system requirements. More info on S-CASE can be found at

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Correspondence to Themistoklis Diamantopoulos.

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Zolotas, C., Diamantopoulos, T., Chatzidimitriou, K.C. et al. From requirements to source code: a Model-Driven Engineering approach for RESTful web services. Autom Softw Eng 24, 791–838 (2017).

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  • RESTful web services
  • Model-Driven Engineering
  • Software requirements
  • Automated Software Engineering