Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework


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Have a look, post your comments, submit a link, or just read what others have written. Details here. B3 More Ecore Tools The Ecore Tools component provides a complete environment to create, edit and maintain Ecore models. Downloads coming soon!

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EEF This project aims at giving another way to improve the EMF model creation phase by providing new services dedicated to editing and using more appealing editing elements. EGF The purpose of EGF is to provide an extensible generation framework in order to support complex, large-scale and customizable generations.

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Texo The Texo project provides annotation driven code generation for server-side web application environments. Net4j Net4j is an extensible client-server system based on the Eclipse Runtime and the Spring Framework. Temporality More Incubation Some components are currently in their Validation Incubation Phase. Older news. Build News Sorry, can't access database. The result is a graphical modeling tool in Eclipse for custom-designed node- and-edge-type diagrams. With this approach we can reduce the effort to develop a graphical modeling tool so much that the development of a graphical DSL becomes cost-efficient.

Acomparable graphical modeling environment that is manually developed with the Graphiti framework might require about Thus the cost to develop a graphical modeling tool is reduced so much, that it may be a viable alternative to a textual DSL. Overall we hope to foster the use of graphical DSLs in MDE-projects and to make the model-driven approach to software development more attractive in general. The paper first provides a short overview of the used technologies in the Section 2. Subsequently the paper reviews related work in the field in Section 3, which is mostly other tools and techniques for the generation of modeling tools.

Our general approach for the model driven creation of the domain specific editors and the overall architecture of our framework is described in Section 4. The core contribution of this publication are the developed DSLs to define our own graphical elements, styles for the graphical elements and the graphical editor itself which are described in the sub chapters of the general approach.

Section 5 illustrates the results of our approach from different angles. Finally, we summarize the limitations of our research and draw conclusions in Section 6. This means that as many artifacts of a software system are derived from formal generative models.


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A Domain Specific Language DSL [34] or application-specific language is a formal language, which is designed and implemented for a specific problem area the so-called domain. The main goal of the design is to achieve a high degree of problem specificity. The DSL should be able to represent all the problems of the domain and nothing outside of the domain.

The Eclipse Modeling Framework EMF [35] is a framework based on the Eclipse platform, that is primarily used for model-based code generation. It ranks as the most important component of the Eclipse Modeling Project, which covers the top level Project from Eclipse the field of model- based development.

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Graphical Editing Framework GEF [36] is a low level framework based on the Eclipse platform for creating graphical editors within Eclipse. Furthermore, GEF helps to create graphical editors based of an existing data model, which could be design inside of the Eclipse Modeling Framework. GEF uses the Draw2d-Toolkit for the graphical representation.

Draw2d[37] is a lightweight framework for displaying graphical elements within the Eclipse environment based on SWT Canvas.

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Lightweight means in this case that all graphical elements, which Draw2d calls figures, are simple java objects with different functions for modification and no corresponding resource in the operating system. The design goal of Draw2d is the creation of vector graphics withinthe Eclipse ecosystem. The framework is part of GEF, but can also be used independently. The diagrams are described by a metamodel and the diagram data is strictly separated from the actual data.

This enables the opportunity of rendering an existing diagram in different environments without having direct access to the actualmetamodel instance data. Thus, the Graphical Modeling Project represents the collection of all provided frameworks and technologiesby Eclipse, which are required for the generation of a model-driven solution. This project combines all model driven approaches by eclipse in one single project. Xtext[40] is aeclipse plugin for the development and creation of textual domain-specific languages or simple programming languages.

Thedevelopment with Xtext is easy to learn and provides a smooth start into the model driven engineering. However, they pose the problem that the systems tend to change independent from the models and eventually diverge. Thus model-driven software engineering has been an active field of research and development. An obvious approach is to use UML or BPMN directly, but it turns out that these general modeling languages are often not specific enough to catch all cases of a domain.

For this reason, the UML version 2. Such extensions have to be built on the basis of the predefined UML metamodel elements.

This makes it difficult to address the model instances from the generator and makes the generator difficult to maintain. The tools most used for this approach are Enterprise Architect [9] and Magic Draw [11]. However, most generator technologies are centered around Eclipse, and building a solid tool chain can be challenging.

The integration into an Eclipse-based tool chain is achieved by an export of the resulting model into a serialized form, usually as XMI. Eclipse has traditionally been a difficult environment to integrate graphics. Tools and frameworks to build graphical modeling tools based on Eclipse exist. Building such tools directly on GEF and Draw2D provides very little infrastructure support and is accordingly very work intensive. Extending GMF beyond the default generated behavior can become particularly painful.

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Tools like Kybele [33] or Eugenia [27][28] also use a generative approach to build graphical editors for Eclipse. Their cost-effectiveness drops if the desired functionality is not provided by the default behavior. The non-commercial tool Meta Programming System MPS [12] of the manufacturer Jet brains provides a range of opportunities and freedoms in the design of their own meta-models.

However, due to the variety of possibilities the complexity of the tool is very high. Another approach is to drop the use of a graphical modeling environment and instead use a textual language to express the DSL models. This approach seems to be very successful in practice.

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This paper advocates the approach to build graphical editors directly in Eclipse. Instead we use a framework called Graphiti. It is relatively young and has been developed by SAP [13]. It was intended for the manual creation of graphical editors inside Eclipse, but it naturally lends itself to a generative approach. This is what our project proposes. The focus of this paper is on the input to the generator. This consists of a set of languages to describe node-and-edge-type graphical modeling languages.

We have identified a similar approach with the project called IMES [10]. The aim of the publicly funded project is to build graphical editors based on Graphiti for functional nets and other systems. Currently the project is not open source, wasn't presented to the public and there was no further development since , so it is difficult to compare our approach with the IMES project.

The development environment is Eclipse with a set of plugins. All essentialtools can be found on the homepage of the project, together with installation instructions. For the main part of the project, the generator, we use a language which is similar to Javaand was specifically designed and developed for the purpose of generating code artefacts, called Xtend[3].. The runtime consists of Graphiti and some extensions which we have to develop, because this functionality iscurrently not part of Graphiti. The core contribution of this paper is on the designed textual DSLs DSLs, which are needed for the development ment of a domain specific graphical editor and not directly on the generated code or the runtime libraries.

The DSLs are developed using Xtext. For very simple domain specific graphical editors, this DSL is sufficient. It defines the mapping of simple shapes, styles and the behavior of elements to metamodel classes.. For shapes that are more complexthan a rectangle or circle shape, the Shape DSL is used. The Shape DSL is developed todesign complex shapes which consist of primitive forms like rectangles and ellipses.

The actual design of shapes, like color and font, can be defined inline in the Shape or separated in a style description. In both cases the Style tyle language is used to design the layout of the elements elements.

Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework
Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework
Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework
Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework
Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework
Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework
Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework
Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework
Eclipse Development using the Graphical Editing Framework and the Eclipse Modeling Framework

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