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Research project on model driven software development for embedded systems

Model driven software development improves the reusability of previously developed software components in former software projects. This concept leads to a great time reduction in the development process.

With the evolution of embedded systems and business applications, model driven concepts envolved in parallel. The efforts in the field of embedded systems were concentrated on ?optimized code generators? and simulation facilities for small subsystems. Compared to that, the main focus of business application development was on the reproduction of entire software architectures regarding MDSD-concepts. Positive synergy effects can be derived from both approaches.

Supervised by the company itemis, three partners are involved in the research project MSDS for Embedded Systems. All project members are listed below. The challenge for the team is to analyse both the application and combination of MSDS- methods and model-based approaches adopted from the field of embedded systems.

The main focus of the research is concentrated on open source development tools, especially on the development platform eclipse. Due to its generic architecture, eclipse is applicable in various contexts:

The functionality of the platform can be extended by plugins. The plugins can be individually tailored to satisfy and perform different tasks. Eclipse can be integrated into the entire development process covering the subsections ranging modelling, code generation, programming, testing and debbugging. The ability of being individually tailored to fullfill specific needs, qualifies eclipse to be used in the development of embedded systems.

Based on case studies, the project team develops new solutions to organize the development process in the field of embedded systems in a more efficient manner. This will be realised by an improved way of tool integration. These tools may be commercial or open source. The team is currently working on the following topics:

Linking external tools to eclipse

Modelling- and simulation tools for embedded systems mostly come as Delphi- or C- applications and offer various interfaces for the communication with external tools. For the research project, the embedded tool WinFACT is linked to eclipse different interfaces (e.g. COM, internet).

Domainspecific languages and editors

In the context of embedded systems development, a domain specific terminology is used. The vocabulary of this language contains many expressions typically used in the field of close to hardware engineering. This special vocabulary makes up the domain specific language (DSL) of the embedded systems environment. Characteristics of DSLs are, that they are not standardised and cover only small sections of expression power. Custom-built editors can be defined on basis of these DSLs and afterwards being used to specify and edit domain specific models. Editors can be divided into pure text editors, graphical and tree- editors? or forms. Adapted validation mechanisms can also be integrated into the editors to extend their functionality. The research team evaluates and optimizes technologies like EMF, GMF, GEF and TOPCASED.

The research team is made up by the following three project partners: