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On Language-Independent Model Modularisation

2009 journal paper

In Transactions on Aspect-Oriented Software Development VI, volume 5560 of LNCS, Springer
with: Florian Heidenreich, Jakob Henriksson, and Steffen Zschaler

As model-driven software development covers additional parts of the development process, the complexity of software models increases as well. At the same time, however, many modelling languages do not provide adequate support for modularising models. For this reason there has been an increasing interest in the topic of model modularisation, often under the heading of aspect-oriented modelling (AOM). The approaches range from techniques that closely mimic concepts from aspect-oriented programming (AOP), such as AspectJ, to very powerful composition techniques for specific types of models—for example, state machines.

We believe that AOM is more than just copying the concepts of AOP at the modelling level and should rightly include a large number of other model composition techniques. Developing model composition techniques and tooling is costly, however. To minimise the effort required, this paper presents a generic technique for model composition. The technique is based on invasive software composition and our Reuseware tooling and can be used with arbitrary modelling languages. The basic technique itself is language independent, but it can be adapted to construct language- and purpose-specific composition techniques for specific modelling languages and situations. Hence, it can be used both as a tool for developing specific model-modularisation techniques and as an instrument of research for studying basic properties and concepts of model modularisation. The paper gives a detailed description of our approach and evaluates it using a number of examples