Visual Programming Languages

Visual languages have an important role in modelling systems, in specification of software, and in specific application domains. A processor for a visual language consists of a graphical frontend attached to phases that analyse and transform the visual programs. Hence, the construction of a visual language processor requires a wide range of conceptual and technical knowledge: from issues of visual design and graphical implementation to aspects of analysis and transformation for languages in general. Currently, we develop the toolset DEViL (successor of VL-Eli), that incorporates such knowledge up to a high specification level. Visual editors are generated by identifying certain patterns in the language structure and selecting a visual representation from a set of precoined solutions. This patterns encapsulate the abstract structure, the interaction operations, and the visual concept of language constructs. The precoined solutions can be parameterized by the language designer to fit the needs of the target language. We are going to improve our toolset to be able implement such complex languages as UML. Therefore we will complete the existing pattern variants and develop a concept to implement different view, which represent the same abstract structure.

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