Adding a Textual Syntax to an Existing Graphical Modeling Language: Experience Report with GRL

  • Vahdat Abdelzad
  • Daniel Amyot
  • Timothy C. Lethbridge
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9369)


A modelling language usually has an abstract syntax (e.g., expressed with a metamodel) separate from its concrete syntax. The question explored in this paper is: how easy is it to add a textual concrete syntax to an existing language that offers only a concrete graphical syntax? To answer this question, this paper reports on lessons learned during the creation of a textual syntax (supported by an editor and transformation tool) for the Goal-oriented Requirement Language (GRL), which is part of the User Requirements Notation standard. Our experiment shows that although current technologies help create textual modelling languages efficiently with feature-rich editors, there are important conflicts between the reuse of existing metamodels and the usability of the resulting textual syntax that require attention.


Goal-oriented Requirement Language Graphical modeling language jUCMNav Metamodel Textual syntax Xtext 



This work was sponsored in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through its Discovery grant program.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vahdat Abdelzad
    • 1
  • Daniel Amyot
    • 1
  • Timothy C. Lethbridge
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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