|Abstract: ||This thesis presents research to build and evaluate embedding of a textual form of state machines into high-level programming languages. The work entailed adding state machine syntax and code generation to the Umple model-oriented programming technology. The added concepts include states, transitions, actions, and composite states as found in the Unified Modeling Language (UML). This approach allows software developers to take advantage of the modeling abstractions in their textual environments, without sacrificing the value added of visual modeling.
Our efforts in developing state machines in Umple followed a test-driven approach to ensure high quality and usability of the technology. We have also developed a syntax-directed editor for Umple, similar to those available to other high-level programming languages. We conducted a grounded theory study of Umple users and used the findings iteratively to guide our experimental development. Finally, we conducted a controlled experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of our approach.
By enhancing the code to be almost as expressive as the model, we further support model-code duality; the notion that both model and code are two faces for the same coin. Systems can be and should be equally-well specified textually and diagrammatically. Such duality will benefit both modelers and coders alike. Our work suggests that code enhanced with state machine modeling abstractions is semantically equivalent to visual state machine models.
The flow of the thesis is as follows; the research hypothesis and questions are presented in “Chapter 1: Introduction”. The background is explored in “Chapter 2: Background”. “Chapter 3: Syntax and semantics of simple state machines” and “Chapter 4: Syntax and semantics of composite state machines” investigate simple and composite state machines in Umple, respectively. “Chapter 5: Implementation of composite state machines” presents the approach we adopt for the implementation of composite state machines that avoids explosion of the amount of generated code. From this point on, the thesis presents empirical work. A grounded theory study is presented in “Chapter 6: A Grounded theory study of Umple”, followed by a controlled experiment in “Chapter 7: Experimentation”. These two chapters constitute our validation and evaluation of Umple research. Related and future work is presented in “Chapter 8: Related work”.|