How to Make Visual Modeling More Attractive to Software Developers

Andrey Terekhov, Timofey Bryksin, and Yurii Litvinov

September, 2017. Published in the Present and Ulterior Software Engineering (Springer).

Abstract. The visual modeling paradigm has already been known for a number of decades, but still a vast majority of software engineers prefer traditional programming to automated code generation from visual models. This happens mostly because of the programmers’ habit of creating the textual code and almost emotional attachment to it, but also because of the common prejudice toward code generation from general purpose modeling languages (especially UML) and the lack of ease of use of visual integrated development environments (IDEs). In this chapter, we address the last issue and discuss several ways to make modeling using diagrams acceptable for industrial software development. Specialized domain-specific visual languages could be used to make models clearer and more understandable. In addition, a lot of effort is required for tool developers to make tools supporting these languages less difficult to use in everyday work. We present a QReal domainspecific modeling (DSM) platform and discuss what we have done to make visual IDEs created on this platform easier and more productive to use, and the process of their creation simpler, e.g., mouse gestures recognition for rapid creation of elements and links on diagrams, or a number of special features that increase the productivity of the modeling process.

DOI Pre-print