Developing Graphical Model Editors for Meta-Modelling Tools - Requirements, Conceptualisation, and Implementation


  • Hanns-Alexander Dietrich University of Muenster – ERCIS
  • Dominic Breuker University of Muenster – ERCIS
  • Matthias Steinhorst University of Muenster – ERCIS
  • Patrick Delfmann University of Muenster – ERCIS
  • Jörg Becker University of Muenster – ERCIS



Meta-modelling tools have been proposed to facilitate the development and adoption of domain-specific modelling languages (DSMLs). These languages specify a set of domain-specific concepts and assign diagrammatic representations to them. A considerable amount of work has been done to develop metamodelling tools ensuring syntactical correctness of models created with DSMLs. However, little has been published about the challenges of developing a graphical model editor for meta-modelling tools. Specifying how conceptual elements of a DSML are to be represented graphically is often cumbersome. Moreover, tools are sometimes too inflexible to handle advanced features beyond displaying static icons. Furthermore, graphical representations must be kept consistent in case of reuse in multiple, potentially integrated DSMLs. This paper’s aim is to carve out a set of requirements for graphical model editors as used in meta-modelling tools. We present a conceptual model considering these requirements. Furthermore, we discuss an exemplary software implementation of a model editor.






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