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Collection of helpful Xtext tools
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README.md

Xtext Tools

CI build

Feel free to add issues in order to improve the tool.

Node Model Outline

The Node Model Outline provides a view to investigate the node model of your Xtext based model file. It's possible to link the outline with the editor bidirectionally.

Semantic Model Outline

The semantic model outline provides a view to investigate the semantic model (AST) of your Xtext based model file. It's possible to link the outline with the editor bidirectionally.

Install Xtext Tools from Update Site

If you have an Eclipse running :

  1. Choose Help -> Install New Software... from the menu bar and click Add...
  2. Insert this url: https://xtexttools.libutzki.de/
  3. Select the category Xtext Tools and complete the wizard by clicking the Next button until you can click Finish.
  4. After a quick download and a restart of Eclipse, the Node Model Outline is ready to use.

Integrating the Node Model Outline

If you have an Eclipse running :

  1. Choose Window -> Show View -> Other... from the menu bar
  2. Select Xtext Tools -> Node Model Outline
  3. The outline is added to your workbench
  4. If you open an Xtext based file, the Node Model Outline displays the underlying Node Model

Integrating the Semantic Model Outline

If you have an Eclipse running :

  1. Choose Window -> Show View -> Other... from the menu bar
  2. Select Xtext Tools -> Semantic Model Outline
  3. The outline is added to your workbench
  4. If you open an Xtext based file, the Semantic Model Outline displays the underlying Semantic Model (AST)

Motivation

As I work as an Xtext consultant there are a lot of situations I am confronted with again and again. The first one I would like to look into is "how does the underlying model look like?"

Text files parsed by Xtext are represented as object graphs in memory. These object graphs are called Abstract Syntax Tree (AST), semantic model or simply model interchangeably. Xtext models are implemented using the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF).

As it's an EMF (Ecore) model you can investigate your model just by using any Ecore editor/viewer. Especially for languages which provide nested expressions it helps you to double-check, if the semantic model is built the way you want it to be.

If you would like to get to know why this works I recommend to read and understand this document.

In many situations the information from the AST is sufficient, but in some situations you need additional syntactical information. In Xtext not only an AST is constructed while parsing but also a so called parse tree (also called node model), which contains all the textual information chunked in so called tokens.

Investigating the parse tree is not as easy as visualizing the semantic model. Often you are find myself debugging in order to get a clue how the parse tree of my model is built.

As the grammar is an Xtext language itself it is represented as an EMF model, too. It's possible to navigate from a node of the parse tree to the corresponding grammar element. As this is just another indirection from the parse tree you can imagine that the debugger is my friend in these cases, too.

Xtext Tools tries to stop exploring your models by using the debugger. It provides different views in order to visualize the different underlying models.

In contrast to generic EMF model viewers the Semantic Outline View is capable of linking between the selected the language element and the model element bidirectionally.

These views aim at language designer and are usually useless for the language's end users.

License

Xtext Tools is published under the Eclipse Public License (EPL) v2.0.

The software includes items that have been sourced from third parties as set out below:

Eclipse MoDisco

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