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Closing the Gap between Modelling and Java

2009 conference paper

In Proc. of 2nd International Conference on Software Language Engineering (SLE’09), LNCS, Springer
with: Florian Heidenreich, Mirko Seifert, and Christian Wende

Model-Driven Software Development is based on standardised models that are refined, transformed and eventually translated into executable code using code generators. However, creating plain text from well-structured models creates a gap that implies several drawbacks: Developers cannot continue to use their model-based tool machinery, relations between model elements and code fragments are hard to track and there is no easy way to rebuild models from their respective code. This paper presents an approach to bridge this gap for the Java programming language. It defines a full metamodel and text syntax specification for Java, from which a parser and a printer are generated. Through this, Java code can be handled like any other model. The implementation is validated with large test sets, example applications are shown, and future directions of research are discussed.