OntoDSL: An Ontology-Based Framework for Domain-Specific Languages

  • Tobias Walter
  • Fernando Silva Parreiras
  • Steffen Staab
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5795)


Domain-specific languages (DSLs) are high-level and should provide abstractions and notations for better understanding and easier modeling of applications of a special domain. Current shortcomings of DSLs include learning curve and formal semantics. This paper reports on a novel approach that allows the use of ontologies to describe DSLs. The formal semantics of OWL together with reasoning services allow for addressing constraint definition, progressive evaluation, suggestions, and debugging. The approach integrates existing metamodels, concrete syntaxes and a query language. A scenario in which domain models for network devices are created illustrates the development environment.


Domain-Specific Languages Technical Space Ontologies Reasoning Services 


  1. 1.
    Kelly, S., Tolvanen, J.: Domain-Specific Modeling. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2007)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gray, J., Fisher, K., Consel, C., Karsai, G., Mernik, M., Tolvanen, J.P.: Panel - DSLs: the good, the bad, and the ugly. In: OOPSLA Companion 2008. ACM, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    McGuinness, D.L., van Harmelen, F.: OWL Web Ontology Language overview (February 2004), http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-owl-features-20040210/
  4. 4.
    Tairas, R., Mernik, M., Gray, J.: Using ontologies in the domain analysis of domain-specific languages. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Transforming and Weaving Ontologies in Model Driven Engineering 2008. CEUR Workshop Proceedings., CEUR-WS.org, vol. 395 (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Guizzardi, G., Pires, L.F., van Sinderen, M.: Ontology-based evaluation and design of domain-specific visual modeling languages. In: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Information Systems Development. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brauer, M., Lochmann, H.: An Ontology for Software Models and Its Practical Implications for Semantic Web Reasoning. In: Bechhofer, S., Hauswirth, M., Hoffmann, J., Koubarakis, M. (eds.) ESWC 2008. LNCS, vol. 5021, pp. 34–48. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Miksa, K., Kasztelnik, M.: Definition of the case study requirements. Deliverable ICT216691/CMR/WP5-D1/D/PU/b1, Comarch (2008) (MOST Project)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gilmore, D.J.: Expert programming knowledge: a strategic approach. In: Psychology of Programming. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mernik, M., Sloane, A.: When and how to develop domain-specific languages. ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR) 37(4), 316–344 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    de Almeida Falbo, R., Guizzardi, G., Duarte, K.: An ontological approach to domain engineering. In: Proc. of SEKE 2002, pp. 351–358. ACM Press, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Happel, H.J., Seedorf, S.: Applications of ontologies in software engineering. In: Proc. 2nd International Workshop on Semantic Web Enabled Software Engineering (SWESE 2006), Athens, USA, November 6 (2006)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Van Der Straeten, R., Mens, T., Simmonds, J., Jonckers, V.: Using Description Logic to Maintain Consistency between UML Models. In: Stevens, P., Whittle, J., Booch, G. (eds.) UML 2003. LNCS, vol. 2863, pp. 326–340. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schlobach, S., Cornet, R.: Non-standard reasoning services for the debugging of description logic terminologies. In: IJCAI International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, pp. 355–362. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco (2003)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Motik, B., Horrocks, I., Rosati, R., Sattler, U.: Can owl and logic programming live together happily ever after? In: Cruz, I., Decker, S., Allemang, D., Preist, C., Schwabe, D., Mika, P., Uschold, M., Aroyo, L.M. (eds.) ISWC 2006. LNCS, vol. 4273, pp. 501–514. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Donini, F.M., Nardi, D., Rosati, R.: Description logics of minimal knowledge and negation as failure. ACM Trans. Comput. Logic 3(2), 177–225 (2002)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Parsia, B., Sirin, E.: Pellet: An OWL DL Reasoner. In: Proc. of the 2004 International Workshop on Description Logics (DL 2004). CEUR Workshop Proceedings, vol. 104 (2004)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Katz, Y., Parsia, B.: Towards a Nonmonotonic Extension to OWL. In: Proceedings of the OWLED 2005, Galway, Ireland, November 11-12. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, vol. 188 (2005)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jouault, F., Bezivin, J.: KM3: A DSL for Metamodel Specification. In: Gorrieri, R., Wehrheim, H. (eds.) FMOODS 2006. LNCS, vol. 4037, pp. 171–185. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    OMG: Object Constraint Language Specification, version 2.0. Object Modeling Group (June 2005)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Motik, B., Patel-Schneider, P.F., Horrocks, I.: OWL 2 Web Ontology Language: Structural Specification and Functional-Style Syntax (April 2009), http://www.w3.org/TR/2009/WD-owl2-syntax-20090421/
  21. 21.
    Silva Parreiras, F., Staab, S., Winter, A.: TwoUse: Integrating UML models and OWL ontologies. Technical Report 16/2007, University of Koblenz-Landau, http://isweb.uni-koblenz.de/Projects/twouse/tr162007.pdf
  22. 22.
    Parreiras, F.S., Walter, T.: Report on the combined metamodel. Deliverable ICT216691/UoKL/WP1-D1.1/D/PU/a1, University of Koblenz-Landau (2008) (MOST Project)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Jouault, F., Kurtev, I.: Transforming Models with ATL. In: Bruel, J.-M. (ed.) MoDELS 2005. LNCS, vol. 3844, pp. 128–138. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Horridge, M., Patel-Schneider, P.: Manchester syntax for OWL 1.1. In: International Workshop OWL: Experiences and Directions, OWLED 2008 (2008)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Jouault, F., Bézivin, J., Kurtev, I.: TCS: a DSL for the specification of textual concrete syntaxes in model engineering. In: Proceedings of the GPCE 2006, pp. 249–254. ACM Press, New York (2006)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Anastasakis, K., Bordbar, B., Georg, G., Ray, I.: UML2Alloy: A challenging model transformation. In: Engels, G., Opdyke, B., Schmidt, D.C., Weil, F. (eds.) MoDELS 2007. LNCS, vol. 4735, pp. 436–450. Springer, Heidelberg (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Jackson, D.: Software Abstractions: logic, language, and analysis. The MIT Press, Cambridge (2006)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wang, H., Dong, J., Sun, J., Sun, J.: Reasoning support for Semantic Web ontology family languages using Alloy. Multiagent and Grid Systems 2(4), 455–471 (2006)CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sure, Y., Angele, J., Staab, S.: OntoEdit: Guiding ontology development by methodology and inferencing. LNCS, pp. 1205–1222. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gerber, A., Lawley, M., Raymond, K., Steel, J., Wood, A.: Transformation: The missing link of MDA. LNCS, pp. 90–105. Springer, Heidelberg (2002)MATHGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Kelly, S., Lyytinen, K., Rossi, M.: MetaEdit+: A Fully Configurable Multi-User and Multi-Tool CASE and CAME Environment, pp. 1–21. Springer, Heidelberg (1996)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Clark, T., Sammut, P., Willans, J.: Applied Metamodelling: a Foundation for Language Driven Development, 2nd edn. Ceteva (2008)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ledeczi, A., Maroti, M., Bakay, A., Karsai, G., Garrett, J., Thomason, C., Nordstrom, G., Sprinkle, J., Volgyesi, P.: The Generic Modeling Environment. In: Proceedings of the IEEE Workshop on Intelligent Signal Processing (WISP 2001). IEEE, Los Alamitos (2001)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Bézivin, J., Jouault, F., Kurtev, I., Valduriez, P.: Model-Based DSL Frameworks. In: OOPSLA, pp. 22–26. ACM, New York (2006)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Walter
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fernando Silva Parreiras
    • 1
  • Steffen Staab
    • 1
  1. 1.ISWeb — Information Systems and Semantic Web, Institute for Computer ScienceUniversity of Koblenz-LandauKoblenzGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Software TechnologyUniversity of Koblenz-LandauKoblenzGermany

Personalised recommendations