Example-Based Generation of Graphical Modelling Environments

  • Jesús J. López-Fernández
  • Antonio Garmendia
  • Esther Guerra
  • Juan de Lara
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9764)


Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) present numerous benefits like powerful domain-specific primitives, an intuitive syntax for domain experts, and the possibility of advanced code generation for narrow domains. While a graphical syntax is sometimes desired for a DSL, constructing graphical modelling environments is a costly and highly technical task. This relegates domain experts to play a passive role in their development and hinders a wider adoption of graphical DSLs.

Targeting a simpler DSL construction process, we propose an example-based technique for the automatic generation of modelling environments for graphical DSLs. This way, starting from examples of the DSL likely provided by domain experts using drawing tools like yED, our system is able to synthesize a graphical modelling environment that mimics the syntax of the provided examples. This includes a meta-model for the abstract syntax of the DSL, and a graphical concrete syntax supporting spatial relationships like containment or attachment. The system is implemented as an Eclipse plugin, and we demonstrate its usage on a running example in the home networking domain.


Domain-specific modelling languages Graphical modelling environments Example-based meta-modelling Flexible modelling 



Work supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity (TIN2014-52129-R), the Madrid Region (S2013/ICE-3006), and the EU Commission (FP7-ICT-2013-10, #611125).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesús J. López-Fernández
    • 1
  • Antonio Garmendia
    • 1
  • Esther Guerra
    • 1
  • Juan de Lara
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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