Object Grammars

Compositional and Bidirectional Mapping between Text and Graphs
  • Tijs van der Storm
  • William R. Cook
  • Alex Loh
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7745)


Object Grammars define mappings between text and object graphs. Parsing recognizes syntactic features and creates the corresponding object structure. In the reverse direction, formatting recognizes object graph features and generates an appropriate textual presentation. The key to Object Grammars is the expressive power of the mapping, which decouples the syntactic structure from the graph structure. To handle graphs, Object Grammars support declarative annotations for resolving textual names that refer to arbitrary objects in the graph structure. Predicates on the semantic structure provide additional control over the mapping. Furthermore, Object Grammars are compositional so that languages may be defined in a modular fashion. We have implemented our approach to Object Grammars as one of the foundations of the Ensō system and illustrate the utility of our approach by showing how it enables definition and composition of domain-specific languages (DSLs).


State Machine Current Object Object Graph Concrete Syntax Attribute Grammar 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Alanen, M., Porres, I.: A relation between context-free grammars and meta object facility metamodels. Technical Report 606, Turku Centre for Computer Science (2004)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Apel, S., Hutchins, D.: A calculus for uniform feature composition. ACM Trans. Program. Lang. Syst. 32(5) 19:1–19:33 (2008)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Apel, S., Kastner, C., Lengauer, C.: FeatureHouse: Language-independent, automated software composition. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), pp. 221–231 (2009)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Avgustinov, P., Ekman, T., Tibble, J.: Modularity first: a case for mixing AOP and attribute grammars. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD), pp. 25–35. ACM (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bąk, K., Czarnecki, K., Wąsowski, A.: Feature and Meta-Models in Clafer: Mixed, Specialized, and Coupled. In: Malloy, B., Staab, S., van den Brand, M. (eds.) SLE 2010. LNCS, vol. 6563, pp. 102–122. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bravenboer, M., Visser, E.: Parse Table Composition. In: Gašević, D., Lämmel, R., Van Wyk, E. (eds.) SLE 2008. LNCS, vol. 5452, pp. 74–94. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Casey, A., Hendren, L.: MetaLexer: a modular lexical specification language. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD), pp. 7–18. ACM (2011)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chen, P.P.: The Entity-Relationship Model—Toward a Unified View of Data. ACM Transactions on Database Systems 1(1) (1976)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    DevBoost: EMFText: concrete syntax mapper,
  10. 10.
    Ekman, T., Hedin, G.: Modular Name Analysis for Java Using JastAdd. In: Lämmel, R., Saraiva, J., Visser, J. (eds.) GTTSE 2005. LNCS, vol. 4143, pp. 422–436. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ekman, T., Hedin, G.: The JastAdd system—modular extensible compiler construction. Sci. Comput. Program. 69(1-3), 14–26 (2007)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Erdweg, S., Giarrusso, P.G., Rendel, T.: Language composition untangled. In: Proceedings of the International Workshop on Language Descriptions, Tools and Applications (LDTA) (2012)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Eysholdt, M., Behrens, H.: Xtext: implement your language faster than the quick and dirty way. In: OOPSLA Companion (SPLASH), pp. 307–309. ACM (2010)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Flanagan, D., Matsumoto, Y.: The Ruby Programming Language. O’Reilly (2008)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fondement, F., Schnekenburger, R., Gérard, S., Muller, P.A.: Metamodel-aware textual concrete syntax specification. Technical Report LGL-2006-005, EPFL (December 2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fondement, F.: Concrete syntax definition for modeling languages. PhD thesis, EPFL (2007)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Frakes, W., Terry, C.: Software reuse: metrics and models. ACM Comput. Surv. 28(2), 415–435 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Goldschmidt, T., Becker, S., Uhl, A.: Classification of Concrete Textual Syntax Mapping Approaches. In: Schieferdecker, I., Hartman, A. (eds.) ECMDA-FA 2008. LNCS, vol. 5095, pp. 169–184. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Heidenreich, F., Johannes, J., Karol, S., Seifert, M., Wende, C.: Derivation and Refinement of Textual Syntax for Models. In: Paige, R.F., Hartman, A., Rensink, A. (eds.) ECMDA-FA 2009. LNCS, vol. 5562, pp. 114–129. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jouault, F., Bézivin, J.: On the specification of textual syntaxes for models. In: Eclipse Modeling Symposium, Eclipse Summit Europe 2006 (2006)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Jouault, F., Bézivin, J., Kurtev, I.: TCS: a DSL for the specification of textual concrete syntaxes in model engineering. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Generative Programming and Component Engineering (GPCE), pp. 249–254. ACM (2006)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Klint, P., van der Storm, T., Vinju, J.: Rascal: A Domain Specific Language for Source Code Analysis and Manipulation. In: Proceedings of the International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation (SCAM), pp. 168–177. IEEE (2009)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Krahn, H., Rumpe, B., Völkel, S.: Integrated Definition of Abstract and Concrete Syntax for Textual Languages. In: Engels, G., Opdyke, B., Schmidt, D.C., Weil, F. (eds.) MoDELS 2007. LNCS, vol. 4735, pp. 286–300. Springer, Heidelberg (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kurtev, I., Bézivin, J., Jouault, F., Valduriez, P.: Model-based DSL frameworks. In: OOPSLA Companion (OOPSLA), pp. 602–616. ACM (2006)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Loh, A.: Piping and instrumentation in Ensō. Language Workbench Challenge Workshop at Code Generation 2012 (March 2012), (accessed June 11, 2012)
  26. 26.
    Loh, A., van der Storm, T., Cook, W.R.: Managed data: Modular strategies for data abstraction (submitted),
  27. 27.
    Merkle, B.: Textual modeling tools: overview and comparison of language workbenches. In: OOPSLA Companion (SPLASH), pp. 139–148. ACM (2010)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Muller, P.A., Fondement, F., Fleurey, F., Hassenforder, M., Schneckenburger, R., Gérard, S., Jézéquel, J.M.: Model-driven analysis and synthesis of textual concrete syntax. Software and System Modeling 7(4), 423–441 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Object Management Group: Unified Modeling Language Specification, version 1.3. OMG (March 2000),
  30. 30.
    Paakki, J.: Attribute grammar paradigms—a high-level methodology in language implementation. ACM Comput. Surv. 27(2), 196–255 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Renggli, L., Denker, M., Nierstrasz, O.: Language Boxes: Bending the Host Language with Modular Language Changes. In: van den Brand, M., Gašević, D., Gray, J. (eds.) SLE 2009. LNCS, vol. 5969, pp. 274–293. Springer, Heidelberg (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Schwerdfeger, A.C., Van Wyk, E.R.: Verifiable composition of deterministic grammars. In: Proceedings of the Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI), pp. 199–210. ACM (2009)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Scott, E., Johnstone, A.: GLL parsing. Electr. Notes Theor. Comput. Sci. 253(7), 177–189 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Van Wyk, E.: Aspects as modular language extensions. In: Proc. of Language Descriptions, Tools and Applications (LDTA). Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science, vol. 82.3. Elsevier Science (2003)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Van Wyk, E., Bodin, D., Gao, J., Krishnan, L.: Silver: an extensible attribute grammar system. Science of Computer Programming 75(1-2), 39–54 (2010)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Visser, E.: Syntax Definition for Language Prototyping. PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam (September 1997)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Völter, M., Solomatov, K.: Language modularization and composition with projectional language workbenches illustrated with MPS. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Language Engineering (SLE). Revised selected papers. LNCS, vol. 6563. Springer (2010)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Völter, M., Visser, E.: Language extension and composition with language workbenches. In: OOPSLA Companion (SPLASH), pp. 301–304. ACM (2010)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Wadler, P.: A Prettier Printer. In: The Fun of Programming. Palgrave Macmillan (2003)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wimmer, M., Kramler, G.: Bridging Grammarware and Modelware. In: Bruel, J.-M. (ed.) MoDELS 2005. LNCS, vol. 3844, pp. 159–168. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Wirth, N.: What can we do about the unnecessary diversity of notation for syntactic definitions? Commun. ACM 20(11), 822–823 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tijs van der Storm
    • 1
    • 2
  • William R. Cook
    • 3
  • Alex Loh
    • 3
  1. 1.Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI)The Netherlands
  2. 2.INRIA Lille Nord EuropeFrance
  3. 3.University of Texas at AustinUSA

Personalised recommendations