A design pattern is a recurring and well-understood design fragment. In a model-driven engineering methodology, detecting occurrences of design patterns supports the activities of model comprehension and maintenance. With the recent explosion of domain-specific modeling languages, each with its own syntax and semantics, there has been a corresponding explosion in approaches to detecting design patterns that are so much tailored to those many languages that they are difficult to reuse. This makes developing generic analysis tools extremely hard. Such a generic tool is however desirable to reduce the learning curve for pattern designers as they specify patterns for different languages used to model different aspects of a system. In this paper, we propose a unified approach to detecting design patterns of MOF-based modeling languages. MOF is increasingly used to define modeling languages, including UML and BPMN. In our approach, a pattern is modeled with a Visual Pattern Modeling Language and mapped to a corresponding QVT-Relations transformation. Such a transformation runs over an input model where pattern occurrences are to be detected and reports those occurrences in a result model. The approach is prototyped on Eclipse and validated in two large case studies that involve detecting design patterns—specifically a subset of GoF patterns in a UML model and a subset of Control Flow patterns in a BPMN model. Results show that the approach is adequate for modeling complex design patterns for MOF-based modeling languages and detecting their occurrences with high accuracy and performance.

Additional Metadata
Keywords BPMN, Design pattern, GoF, Modeling, MOF, QVT, UML, VPML
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10270-013-0325-9
Journal Software and Systems Modeling
Elaasar, M. (Maged), Briand, L.C. (Lionel C.), & Labiche, Y. (2015). VPML: an approach to detect design patterns of MOF-based modeling languages. Software and Systems Modeling, 14(2), 735–764. doi:10.1007/s10270-013-0325-9