Journal article

Semantics of OCL Specified with QVT

The Object Constraint Language (OCL) has been for many years formalized both in its syntax and semantics in the language standard. While the official definition of OCL’s syntax is already widely accepted and strictly supported by most OCL tools, there is no such agreement on OCL’s semantics, yet. In this paper, we propose an approach based on metamodeling and model transformations for formalizing the semantics of OCL. Similarly to OCL’s official semantics, our semantics formalizes the semantic domain of OCL, i.e. the possible values to which OCL xpressions can evaluate, by a metamodel. Contrary to OCL’s official semantics, the evaluation of OCL expressions is formalized in our approach by model transformations written in QVT. Thanks to the chosen format, our semantics definition for OCL can be automatically transformed into a tool, which evaluates OCL expressions in a given context. Our work on the formalization of OCL’s semantics resulted also in the identification and better understanding of important semantic concepts, on which OCL relies. These insights are of great help when OCL has to be tailored as a constraint language of a given DSL. We show on an example, how the semantics of OCL has to be redefined in order to become a constraint language in a database domain.

Related material