Incremental validation of UML models using EMF-IncQuery

Last week we created in the university a nice demo application to demonstrate the validation capabilities of our EMF-IncQuery framework. The application was presented on the conference ECMFA 2011 as a tutorial.

EMF-IncQuery provides an incrementally evaluated model query framework: as the underlying EMF model is changed, the query results are re-evaluated, and are instantly returned when needed. Queries are formulated using the pattern language of the VIATRA2 transformation system, and the Java code necessary to execute queries are generated.

In our demo application we extended the Papyrus UML editor with on-the-fly validation of well-formedness constraints. During editing we check for non-local constraints (e.g. a Behaviour must have the same number of parameters as the corresponding operation); display the results in the editor and in the problems view; we try to provide and remove these error markers without saving or manual need to start validation.

Basically, the constraint validators are generated from specially annotated VIATRA2 patterns; the generation is currently somewhat specific to the Papyrus editor, but can be extended to support most EMF-based editors easily.

A screencast of the demo is presented below. It is important to note, that the Papyrus editor was not modified in any way, and the framework generated all Java code used during validation. More details about the demo application, such as source code, tutorial slides, can be found on the homepage of the application.

(If the embedded video does not show – e.g. in a feed reader – you could watch it on on Youtube)

Author: Zoltán Ujhelyi

I am an Eclipse Technology Expert at IncQuery Labs Ltd. and a regular contributor of open-source projects, most importantly the VIATRA project at Furthermore, I am in the process of finishing my PhD in computer science at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics focusing on analysis techniques for model queries and transformations.

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