Declarative versus Imperative Process Modeling Languages: The Issue of Understandability

  • Dirk Fahland
  • Daniel Lübke
  • Jan Mendling
  • Hajo Reijers
  • Barbara Weber
  • Matthias Weidlich
  • Stefan Zugal
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 29)


Advantages and shortcomings of different process modeling languages are heavily debated, both in academia and industry, but little evidence is presented to support judgements. With this paper we aim to contribute to a more rigorous, theoretical discussion of the topic by drawing a link to well-established research on program comprehension. In particular, we focus on imperative and declarative techniques of modeling a process. Cognitive research has demonstrated that imperative programs deliver sequential information much better while declarative programs offer clear insight into circumstantial information. In this paper we show that in principle this argument can be transferred to respective features of process modeling languages. Our contribution is a pair of propositions that are routed in the cognitive dimensions framework. In future research, we aim to challenge these propositions by an experiment.


Process model understanding declarative versus imperative modeling cognitive dimensions framework 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Fahland
    • 1
  • Daniel Lübke
    • 2
  • Jan Mendling
    • 1
  • Hajo Reijers
    • 3
  • Barbara Weber
    • 4
  • Matthias Weidlich
    • 5
  • Stefan Zugal
    • 4
  1. 1.Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz Universität HannoverGermany
  3. 3.Eindhoven University of TechnologyThe Netherlands
  4. 4.University of InnsbruckAustria
  5. 5.Hasso-Plattner-InstituteUniversity of PotsdamGermany

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