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Harmless Metamodel Extensions with Triple Graph Grammars

2007 workshop paper

In Proc. of 5th International Fujaba Days
with: Tobias Haupt

Designing Domain Specific Languages through metamodeling is an emerging engineering technique in software development. Language development, however, is also always tool development—which can be costly when languages are developed from scratch. Costs can be saved by developing new languages as extensions of existing ones—effectively by extending metamodels. Here, existing tools, developed for the existing language, can be reused to a certain degree. We argue that a certain group of metamodel extension is harmless: keeping existing tools functional, while integrating new tools to handle additional functionalities. To realize a platform for this, two things are required: 1) a transformation engine for the metamodel extension and 2) a synchronization mechanism for tool integration. In this paper we show how Triple Graph Grammars can be used to define both and introduce an interpreter for these grammars that works in an environment based on the Eclipse Modeling Framework.