Operational Abstractions of Model Transforms

Model transforms convert a model to another model or text. Transforms play a key role in model-driven engineering; therefore, it is essential for a transform user to understand the transform semantics. However, examining the transform code to obtain such understanding can be cumbersome and impractical. To address this, we present an operational abstraction of model transforms. The abstraction captures the essential transformation semantics in terms of the structure of the output and the influence of input-model elements on output fragments. Thus, the abstraction supports the transform user’s perspective, which is focused on inputs and outputs, and is unconcerned with implementation details. We present an automated approach that uses a combination of selective path enumeration, forced execution of enumerated paths, and an offline trace-merging analysis to synthesize operational abstractions. We discuss different applications of the abstraction. We implemented our approach for XSLT-based model transforms
and conducted empirical studies. Our results indicate that selective path enumeration can be highly effective in reducing the scope of path exploration, while ensuring that the abstraction is complete. Our user study illustrates that the abstraction can improve user efficiency in debugging faulty input models. Our final study shows the feasibility of using abstractions for two metamodel management tasks.

By: Vibha Singhal Sinha, Pankaj Dhoolia, Senthil Mani, Saurabh Sinha

Published in: RI12007 in 2012


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.


Questions about this service can be mailed to reports@us.ibm.com .