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Language Engineering with The GEMOC Studio (at ICSA'17)

This tutorial provides a practical approach for developing and integrating various Domain-Specific (modeling) Languages (DSLs) used in the development of modern complex software-intensive systems, with the main objective to support abstraction and separation of concerns. This tutorial leverages the tooling provided by the GEMOC Studio to present the various facilities offered by the Eclipse platform (incl., EMF/Ecore, Sirius) and introduces the advanced features to extend a DSL with a well-defined execution semantics. From such a specification, we demonstrate the ability of the studio to automatically support model execution, graphical animation, omniscient debugging, concurrency analysis and concurrent execution of heterogeneous models. The tutorial is composed of both lectures and hands-on sessions. Hands-on sessions allow participants to experiment on a concrete use case of an architecture description language used to coordinate heterogeneous behavioral and structural components.


During this tutorial, the participants will extend a given finite state machine DSL in terms of syntax and semantics and integrate it into a simplified version of the MontiArc component & connector ADL using the GEMOC Studio language workbench. The ADL is tailored for designing component-based distributed interactive systems that rely on state-based models to describe component behavior. In the modeling workbench, the participants will design integrated models. Based on such a design, participants will be able to concurrently execute the various components according to the execution semantics (message passing) of MontiArc, to graphically animate the architecture, and to debug the system behavior.


  • ⚠️ Read carefully, tricky details follow.
  • ⛔️ Breaking changes. You should download a new version of the language under development for temporal reasons. You may proceed with you local changes, but we might not be able to support its evolution due to the short time frame of the tutorial.



You can refer to the documentation at any time.

Part 1. General introduction

This part introduces the structure and goals of the tutorial. Moverover it covers an introduction to software language engineering, GEMOC Studio and the GEMOC initiative. The slides are available here.

Part 2. Language engineering

In this part, you will - due to temporal restrictions - extend the metamodel and semantics of a language for finite state machines (FSM) that ultimately will be integrated in the MontiArc component & connector ADL. In the first step, you will load the projects implementing the language into the language workbench, start the modeling workbench, and execute/debug an FSM. Afterwards, you will extend the metamodel of the FSM language with three new concepts related to FSM variables and their usage. Then you will add behavior of these new concepts to the language. After that, you switch to the MontiArc language and add new concrete (graphical) syntax to it, before you integrate FSM into MontiArc, combine their behavior, and execute the result.

2.1 Running the FSM example

  • Open your GEMOC Studio
  • Go to a new workspace.
  • Go to File -> new -> Example -> Select GEMOC FSM Language (Sequential)

This produces the general structure of a (x)DSL project, which comprises the projects for your static language (projects org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.fsm.*)

  • org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.fsm.model Contains the metamodel of your language
  • org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.fsm.model.edit Contains the edition helper classes of your metamodel (reused by many textual, tree, or graphical editors and Eclipse outline)
  • org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.fsm.model.editor Generate a generic tree based editor for your FSM Model
  • org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.fsm Contains the DSL description Melange model for your FSM language
  • Contains a graphical representation description for you FSM model Sirius based

and their executable counterparts (projects org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.xsfsm.*)

  • org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.xsfsm Contains the DSL description Melange model for your XSFSM language
  • Contains graphical representation extension for you XSFSM model Sirius Animator
  • org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.xsfsm.trace Contains the generated project for efficient executable trace management
  • org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.xsfsm.xsfsm Generated executable FSM metamodel resulting from the org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.xsfsm language specification melange file

Playing with the language

  1. Start a modeling workbench

  2. Get the example for (GEMOC model for FSM Sequential)

  • Open the bitshifting.aird file: there you can see and edit the FSM model.

Next: Run this model. To this effect, open the run dialog:

  • Run in debug mode the BitShifting.fsm 000101010 run configuration.

You then can play with the debug model by stepping through it and observing the state transitions.

⚠️ You can now close the modeling workbench

2.2 Adding new concepts to your language

Just open your FSM metamodel (in project org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.fsm.model) in the language workbench either using the graphical editor via fsm.aird or using the tree-based editor via fsm.ecore.


  1. Add the concept of Variable that has a name to the FSM. Add the subclasses : a StringVariable, BooleanVariable, and a NumberVariableas depicted below:

  1. Add the concepts of Guards and Actions to the Transition as depicted below

⚠️ At the end of this task, you must regenerate the Java code for your metamodel. Right click on the fsm.genmodel in the same folder as the metamodel and select reload. Next, open it and in the tree editor, right click and select generate all.

Adding OCL constraints

⛔️ The result of the previous step is available from the folder 2.2-ocl. Please download it if you encountered problems in adding the new concepts to the FSM metamodel.

In our language, you can define your static semantics (i.e., well-formedness rules) using OCL. Let us try to define that a state cannot have two outgoing transitions without a guard. To this effect, open the metamodel with the OCLinEcore editor via right clicking it and selecting that editor. Here, you can create an invariant for the concept State that restricts its outgoing transitions.

Example: Invariant to check uniqueness of names
invariant uniqueStateNames: 
	self.states->forAll(s1, s2| s1 <> s2 implies <>;

After creating the invariant for the State concept, start the modeling workbench again and open the BitShifting model again. Right click on it and select validate. Now eclipse marks all states as erroneous as none uses a guarded transition.

2.3 Completing the dynamic semantics

⛔️ For temporal constraints, we provide an implementation of the FSM dynamic semantics. We suggest, to restart from the FSM version in the folder 2.3. Prior to that, delete all projects from your workspace (or switch to another workspace).

The operational semantics of FSM are defined in the file tfsmAspects.xtend of project org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.fsm.k3dsa. This file which employs Kermeta 3 (K3) and the Interpreter Design Pattern to describe the dynamic behavior of FM models and its contents is woven into the metamodel of your executable DSL (i.e., XSFSM, not FSM!). In this file, you have aspects for all classes of your metamodel. Some of these aspects use annotations to define execution functions or entry points.

Execution Functions

The Execution Functions define how the Execution Data evolve during the execution of the model. Execution Functions can be implemented by defining the body of a method. These methods must be annotated with the @Step annotation. Whenever a method with an @Step annotation returns, the changes in the model will be applied (via a transaction) to the resource. This means that the changes will be visible from an animator. K3 supports nested @Step annotation calls so that changes in the model will be applied when entering and leaving methods having these annotations.

Entry Points

The GEMOC sequential engines uses methods annotated with @Main as entry points to model execution. This annotation must be placed on operations applicable to model elements considered as the model starting point (Often the root model element).

We left two methods unimplemented with "TODO". Try to implement these two methods.

After finishing, run "generate all" on the Melange model of project org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.xsfsm, which generates a new language implementation.

Note how Melange has woven the methods defined in the aspects into the XSFSM metamodel defined in XSFSM.melange of org.gemoc.sample.legacyfsm.xsfsm.

Testing the execution of the model with its new semantics

⛔️ The solution of the previous step is available from the folder 2.4-sirius-start. Please download it and let's run the modeling workbench on top of these projects.

Create a FSM model with two steps and one transition. Create a variable a with 1 as an initial step. Create a guard associated to the transition that checks whether a == 1. Create an action that assigns 2 to the variable a.

Let's debug/animate this model!

  1. Create the debug configuration

  1. You can then debug your language

2.4: Defining concrete syntax with Sirius

In this step, you will define the graphical concrete syntax for a specific modeling element of the FSM language using Sirius.

⛔️ For temporal restrictions, we have prepared the state of FSM so far in the folder 2.4-sirius-start. Please remove your projects from the workspace (or switch to another workspace) and import the projects from this folder.

As you have added variables, guard, and actions to the metamodel, these should be rendered also. The following figures shows the intended result in action. Transitions display guards and actions, the FSM has a container displaying the current variables values, and the currently touched elements are highlighted during execution.

In description/XSFSM.odesign of project, you'll find the Sirius designer model that renders the concrete graphical syntax of your language in the modeling workbench. This designer model is connected to your metamodel as depicted below:

This designer model comprises three views: a default view that renders the structural parts of your models, a debug view that overlays the structural parts with information from the debugging process (such as variable values), and an animator view that enables adding domain-specific animations.

  • For rendering guards and actions, please adjust the labels of transitions accordingly. To this effect, investigate how the properties of "Event Transition" are mapped to methods of the class XFSMServices and adjust the employed methods accordingly.
  • For the variables, we want to display their current values. To this end, create a container for variables in the animation view that can contain variables which are represented by labels as depicted by the next three figures.

Please refer to the Sirius documentation for learning how you can configure in details your editor.

The container for variables with its properties:

The node for variables with its properties:

The label rendering information on variables with its properties:

The label receives its text from the registered services. Depending on the view, the services render either the variables' initial values (default view) or their current values (debugging view). Please have a look at the classes FSMServices and XFSMServices and investigate how this is achieved.

Let us import an example model from the project ICSA2017Example to debug a model with your new representation. In this project, open the file /models/HeatingController.aird and in the project explorer, open the HeatingController diagram. See below:

From here, you can run the launch configuration /launch/HeatingController.launch, as a debug configuration and start debugging your model. From the variables view (top right), you can adjust the current temperature to observe different FSM behavior.

⛔️ The solution of the previous step is available from the solution folder, if you had any problems with recreating the new syntax elements, please download it, clear your language workbench workspace and import these projects. Then run the modeling workbench on top of these projects.

Part 3. Wrap-up and discussion

See slides.