Guest Editorial: Special Section: Advances in Modeling and Languages

The Special Section on Advances in Modeling and Languages was inspired by three events organized during 2015 in the domains of Formal Languages, Compilers, and Model Driven Software Engineering. These events were: (i) Symposium on Languages, Applications and Technologies (SLATE) in Madrid, Spain; (ii) Workshop on Advances in Programming Languages (WAPL) organized within the scope of the Federated Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems (FedCSIS) in Lodz, Poland; and (iii) PTI KIKO Software Engineering Conference held in Miedzyzdroje, Poland. After a call to the prospective authors to submit their papers, and a rigorous reviewing procedure, the same as for regularly submitted papers, we finally accepted 5 papers presenting both theoretical and practical contributions in the field of Advances in Modeling, and Languages.

Milan Nosál, Matúš Sulír, and Ján Juhár in their paper Language Composition Using Source Code Annotations examine source code annotations from the viewpoint of formal languages, their abstract syntax, concrete syntax, and semantics, thus showing the correspondence between annotations and formal languages. They propose to consider a set of all annotations and their parameters processed by the same reference implementation. The performed analysis pinpoints a specificity of annotations in comparison with formal languages in general – the binding between annotations and a host language. The authors show how pure embedding with annotations can be used for language unification, language referencing by extension, and language extension.

Separation of Concerns (SoC) and genericity are two important Software Engineering principles to better control software complexity during development, maintenance, and reuse. In the paper On Interplay between Separation of Concerns and Genericity Principles: Beyond Code Weaving, Stan Jarzabek and Kuldeep Kumar study the interplay between these two principles, showing that there is an overlapping area where the goals of SoC and genericity, as well as means to achieve these goals, are the same. They make a case that by integrating the principles of SoC and genericity one scan achieve non-redundancy, and at the same time enhance the visibility of inseparable concerns, offering a weaker, but still useful form of SoC. The authors present examples of program representations built with the Adaptive Reuse Technique (ART) that supports both SoC and generic mechanisms.

The objective of feature modeling is to foster software reuse by enabling to explicitly and abstractly express commonality and variability in the domain. Feature modeling is used to configure other models and, eventually, code. These software assets are being configured by the feature model based on the selection of variable features. Valentino Vranić and Roman Táborský in their paper Features as Transformations: A Generative Approach to Software Development advocate that selecting a feature is far from a naive component based approach where feature inclusion would simply mean including the corresponding component. More often than not, feature inclusion affects several places in models or code to be configured requiring their nontrivial adaptation. Thus, feature inclusion recalls transformation and this is at heart of the approach to feature model driven generation of software artefacts proposed in their paper. Features are viewed as transformations that may be executed during the generative process conducted by the feature model configuration. The generative process is distributed in respective transformations enabling the developers to have a better control over it.

Web Services (WS) are fundamental software artifacts for building service oriented applications and they are usually reused by others. Therefore they must be analyzed and comprehended for maintenance tasks: identification of critical parts, bug fixing, adaptation and improvement. In the paper Measuring the understandability of WSDL specifications, Web Service Understanding Degree Approach and System, Mario Marcelo Berón, Hernán Bernardis, Enrique Alfredo Miranda, Daniel Edgardo Riesco, Maria João Varanda Pereira, and Pedro Rangel Henriques present their method aimed at measuring a priori the understanding degree (UD) of WSDL descriptions. In order to compute UD several criteria useful to measure the understanding’s complexity of WSDL descriptions must be defined. These criteria are used by the LSP multicriteria evaluation method, for producing a Global Preference value that indicates the satisfaction level of the WSDL description regarding the evaluation focus, in this case, the understanding degree. All the criteria information required by LSP is extracted from WSDL descriptions by using static analysis techniques and processed by specific algorithms which allow gathering semantic information.

Existing gamification services have features that preclude their use by e-learning tools. José Carlos Paiva, José Paulo Leal, and Ricardo Queirós in their paper Gamification of Learning Activities with the Odin Service present Odin – a gamification service that mimics the API of state-of-theart services. Odin is a gamification service for learning activities. The validation of Odin involves creation of a small e-learning game, integrated in a Learning Management System using the Learning Tools Interoperability specification. Odin is integrated in an e-learning tool that provides formative assessment in online and hybrid courses in an adaptive and engaging way.

Ivan Luković