Configuration management for models : generic methods for model comparison and model co-evolution

Z. Protic

    Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

    840 Downloads (Pure)


    It is an undeniable fact that software plays an important role in our lives. We use the software to play our music, to check our e-mail, or even to help us drive our car. Thus, the quality of software directly influences the quality of our lives. However, the traditional Software Engineering paradigm is not able to cope with the increasing demands in quantity and quality of produced software. Thus, a new paradigm of Model Driven Software Engineering (MDSE) is quickly gaining ground. MDSE promises to solve some of the problems of traditional Software Engineering (SE) by raising the level of abstraction. Thus, MDSE proposes the use of models and model transformations, instead of textual program files used in traditional SE, as means of producing software. The models are usually graph-based, and are built by using graphical notations – i.e. the models are represented diagrammatically. The advantages of using graphical models over text files are numerous, for example it is usually easier to deduce the relations between different model elements in their diagrammatic form, thus reducing the possibility of defects during the production of the software. Furthermore, formal model transformations can be used to produce different kinds of artifacts from models in all stages of software production. For example, artifacts that can be used as input for model checkers or simulation tools can be produced. This enables the checking or simulation of software products in the early phases of development, which further reduces the probability of defects in the final software product. However, methods and techniques to support MDSE are still not mature enough. In particular methods and techniques for model configuration management (MCM) are still in development, and no generic MCM system exists. In this thesis, I describe my research which was focused on developing methods and techniques to support generic model configuration management. In particular, during my research, I focused on developing methods and techniques for supporting model evolution and model co-evolution. Described methods and techniques are generic and are suitable for a state-based approach to model configuration management. In order to support the model evolution, I developed methods for the representation, calculation, and visualization of state-based model differences. Unlike in previously published research, where these three aspects of model differences are dealt with in separation, in my research all these three aspects are integrated. Thus, the result of model differences calculation algorithm is in the format which is described by my research on model differences representation. The same representation format of model differences is used as a basis of my approach to differences visualization. It is important to notice that the developed representation format for model differences is metamodel independent, and thus is generic, i.e., it can be used to represent differences between all graph-based models. Model co-evolution is a term that describes the problem of adapting models when their metamodels evolve. My solution to this problem has three steps. In the first step a special metamodel MMfMM is introduced. Unlike in traditional approaches, where metamodels are represented as instances of a metametamodel, in my approach the metamodels are represented by models which are instances of an MMfMM. In the second step, since metamodels are represented by models, previously defined methods and techniques for model evolution are reused to represent and calculate the metamodel differences. In the final step I define an algorithm that uses the calculated metamodel differences to adapt models conforming to the evolved metamodel. In order to validate my approaches to model evolution and model co-evolution, I have developed a tool for comparing models and visualizing resulting differences, and a tool for model co-evolution. Moreover, I have developed a method to compare tools for model comparison, and using this method I have conducted a series of experiments in which I compared the tool I developed to an industrial tool called EMFCompare. The results of these experiments are also presented in the thesis. Furthermore, in order to validate my tool and approach to model co-evolution, I have also specified and conducted several experiments. The results of these experiments are also presented in the thesis.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Mathematics and Computer Science
    • van den Brand, Mark G.J., Promotor
    • Verhoeff, Tom, Copromotor
    Award date3 Oct 2011
    Place of PublicationEindhoven
    Print ISBNs978-90-386-2650-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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