Streamlining the Development of Hybrid Graphical-Textual Model Editors for Domain-Specific Languages

Ionut Predoaia*, Dimitris Kolovos, Matthias Lenk, Antonio García-Domínguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A domain-specific language (DSL) can have multiple syntaxes, that can be graphical or textual. When modelling the behaviour, complex expressions, and fine details of a domain, often it does not make sense to use a graphical syntax, as this can result in large, crowded diagrams, therefore in such cases, a textual syntax is often more appropriate. As such, the best of both worlds can be delivered by a DSL that has hybrid (part-graphical and part-textual) syntaxes. In this work, we address open challenges and apply model-driven engineering techniques to streamline the development of hybrid graphical-textual model editors for DSLs, by using as little hand-written code as possible.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Object Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work in this paper has been funded by NetApp and through the HICLASS InnovateUK project (contract no. 113213).

About the authors:
Ionut Predoaia is a PhD candidate and Research Associate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York. He is also an R&D Software Engineer at NetApp, where he focuses on the development of model editors for system management and infrastructure automation. His current research revolves around model-based software engineering, domain-specific languages, model editors and infrastructure as code. You can contact the author at

Dimitris Kolovos is a Professor of Software Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York, where he researches and teaches automated and model-driven software engineering. He is also an Eclipse Foundation committer, leading the development of the open-source Epsilon model-driven software engineering platform, and an editor of the Software and Systems Modelling journal. He has co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and his research has been supported by the European Commission, UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), InnovateUK and by companies such as Rolls-Royce and IBM. You can contact the author at

Matthias Lenk held the role of a Global Technology Strategist at NetApp, where he focused on cloud and data services for the automotive industry. His academic background is within model-driven software development and model transformations in the domain of VR/AR. You can contact the author at

Antonio García-Domínguez is a Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science of the University of York. Antonio's main research interest is model-driven software engineering, with lines of work on scalable model management and runtime models for explainability of self-adaptive systems. In addition to over 60 publications across international conferences, journals, and book chapters, Antonio is a core contributor to the Eclipse Epsilon model management languages and tools, and leads the Eclipse Hawk model indexing project. You can contact the author at

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Journal of Object Technology. All Rights Reserved.


  • Code Generation
  • Domain-Specific Language
  • EMF
  • Graphical-Textual Modelling
  • Language Engineering
  • Model Editor
  • Sirius
  • Xtext

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