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test post on modelling [message #1729668] Sun, 17 April 2016 13:17
Thomas Beale is currently offline Thomas BealeFriend
Messages: 5
Registered: April 2016
Junior Member
This is probably a somewhat left-field question on modelling and meta-modelling, hopefully someone can help with it.

It's to do with the basic problem of formal model representation. There are many ways of doing it. For some (many?) it was supposed to be UML/XMI. Now as we all know, XMI is pretty horrible, not human-readable, over-complicated due to the over-complicated UML meta-model and also non- standardly (or just not..) implemented by different tools. A very well-known story.

In our community (, 'EHR' = Electronic Health Record) which has been publishing specifications and models to do with health data and semantics for over 15 years, we had to make a decision over 10 years ago on how we would represent normal object models formally. We avoided XMI for the reasons mentioned above. We considered IDL, various programming languages, and I remember having looked at EMF/Ecore as it was then (maybe 2005) and thinking it needed more work.

So we did the inevitable and wrote our own meta-model, which has a) a concrete JSON-like syntax called ODIN (invented before JSON existed), and b) the semantic model (think of it as an AST style model) called Basic Meta-Model (BMM).

The ODIN syntax just enables a BMM model instance to be serialised as computable and (reasonably) human-readable /editable files (example), so it's not important here. The main thing is the BMM semantic model, which I designed based on the semantics available in the Eiffel language, e.g. MI, generic types and the usual OO structural semantics. Right now it doesn't represent routines / functions etc, only the structural aspect.

From time to time, the Eclipse cognoscenti in our community tell me we should migrate / evolve / otherwise upgrade the BMM approach to something based on EMF/Ecore. I'd be happy to look at this, but need help on identifying the right resources, There two things I can think of that would be interesting. There is an Ecore syntax which I believe is called EMFtext that I see here, which looks nice, and then there is the Ecore meta-model. For the latter, I see all sorts of diagrams and model documentations all over the web, and of course documentation e.g. here.

What I'd like to obtain are pointers to the definitive current versions of both the syntax and the Ecore meta-model. I have spent some time looking at both in the past, and when I couldn't find some feature, e.g. generics (that is a must for us), I was told, you need to get the current version, you have an old version etc etc. So I hope it's clear what I'm asking for, and it would be most appreciated if someone could help me find definitive and latest versions of these resources.

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