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Compositional language engineering using generated, extensible, static type-safe visitors

: Heim, R.; Mir Seyed Nazari, P.; Rumpe, B.; Wortmann, A.


Wa̜sowski, A.:
Modelling foundations and applications. 12th European Conference, ECMFA 2016 : Held as part of STAF 2016, Vienna, Austria, July 6-7, 2016. Proceedings
Cham: Springer, 2016 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 9764)
ISBN: 978-3-319-42060-8
ISBN: 978-3-319-42061-5
European Conference on Modelling Foundations and Applications (ECMFA) <12, 2016, Vienna>
Conference "Software Technologies - Application and Foundations" (STAF) <2016, Vienna>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer FIT ()

Language workbenches usually produce infrastructure to represent models as abstract syntax trees (AST) and employ processing infrastructure largely based on visitors. The visitor pattern suffers from the expression problem regarding extensibility and reuse. Current approaches either forsake static type safety, require features unavailable in popular object-oriented languages (e.g., open classes), or rely on procedural abstraction and thereby give up the object-oriented data encapsulation (the AST) itself. Our approach to visitors exploits knowledge about the AST and generation of statically type-safe external visitor interfaces that support extensibility in two dimensions: (1) defining new operations by implementing the interface and (2) extending the underlying data structure, usually without requiring adaptation of existing implemented visitors.