Executable and Translatable UML - How Difficult Can It Be?
Paper in proceedings, 2011
Executable and Translatable UML enables Model-Driven Architecture by specifying Platform-Independent Models that can be automatically transformed into Platform-Specific Models through model compilation. Previous research shows that the transformations result in both efficient code and consistency between the models.
However, there are neither results for the effort of introducing the technology in a new context nor on the level of expertise needed for designing the Platform-Independent Models. We wanted to know if teams of novice software developers could design Executable and Translatable UML models without prior experiences of software modelling.
As part of a new university course we conducted an exploratory case study with two data collections over two years. Bachelor students were given the task to design a hotel reservation system and the necessary test cases for verifying the functionality and structure of the models within 300 hours, using Executable and Translatable UML.
In total, 43 out of 50 teams succeeded in delivering verified and consistent models within the time frame. During the second data collection the students were given limited tool training. This gave a raise in the quality of the models.
Due to the executable feature of the models the students were given constant feedback on their design until the models behaved as expected, with the required level of detail and structure. Our results show that using Executable and Translatable UML does not require more expertise than a bachelor program in computer science. All in all, Executable and Translatable UML could play an important role in future software development.