C. Burghard, L. Berardinelli: Visualizing Multi-dimensional State Spaces Using Selective Abstraction, 46th Euromicro Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications (SEAA), Portoroz, Slovenia, virtual event, August 26-28, 2020. Doi: 10.1109/SEAA51224.2020.00032

Domain-specific languages (DSLs) are popular for many reasons, such as increasing productivity for developers and improving communication with domain experts. Both textual and graphical DSLs are viable solutions with complementary pros and cons: while graphical DSLs shorten the learning curve and facilitate documentation and communication, textual DSLs aim at higher productivity thanks to more efficient editor functionalities. This paper presents the industrial experience on the adoption of a hybrid approach combining an existing textual DSL with a read-only graphical state machine representation (visualization), equipped with a selective abstraction functionality that offers user-specific, highly configurable views on states and transitions. Our approach is the result of an evolutionary process to improve the modelling experience, relying on frequent user feedback. We argue that a well-tailored visualization is a suitable way to shorten the learning curve and ease the adoption of model-driven approaches in industrial settings.

Visualizing Multi-dimensional State Spaces Using Selective Abstraction