Domain-Specific Languages with Eclipse Modeling

Jan Koehnlein (itemis AG ), Karsten Thoms (itemis AG ), Markus Voelter (itemis AG ), Sebastian Zarnekow (itemis AG )

Modeling · Tutorial
Tuesday, 09:00, 4 hours | Schubartsaal


Domain-specific languages (DSLs) are a popular technique in software to eliminate redundancy, reduce syntactic noise, separate concerns and introduce abstractions the target language cannot offer. In this tutorial we present a complete chain of Eclipse Modeling tools to define, process and execute external DSLs. We start with the definition of the abstract and the concrete textual syntax using an Xtext grammar. From that, we use Xtext to automatically create a DSL workbench, including an Ecore model for the abstract syntax, a parser and a text editor with syntax highlighting code completion and navigation. We show how to customize the editor and use it to define models. Finally, we orchestrate the model processing components with MWE and write code-generation templates in Xpand to generate artifacts for our target platform. The participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of all these technologies and gather hands-on experience. They will learn how easy working with DSLs can be and how well it fits into modern agile software development.

Dr. Jan Köhnlein is working as software architect and consultant for itemis AG in Kiel (Germany). He has earned several years of experience in developing tools for model-driven software development. He leads the EMF Index project and commits to several other Eclipse Modeling Projects.

Karsten Thoms works as a software architect at itemis AG, the leading company for applied model-driven software development. He works on customer projects of all sizes and over all lifecycle phases with an emphasis on Enterprise Java applications. His special interest is on improving software engineering with the use of model-driven techniques. Since several years he is member of the openArchitectureWare project to create the tools required to realize his vision.

Markus Völter works as an independent researcher, consultant and coach for itemis AG in Stuttgart, Germany. His focus is on software architecture, model-driven software development and domain specific languages as well as on product line engineering. Markus also regularly writes (articles, patterns, books) and speaks (trainings, conferences) on those subjects. Contact him via or

Sebastian Zarnekow (itemis) is a software architect and consultant at itemis in northern Germany. He develops frameworks and tools for model-driven and language oriented software development and is a committer for Xtext, Xpand and MWE. Sebastian is a speaker at conferences and author of articles for magazines.

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