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Axini develops tools for model based testing (MBT) and model based software engineering (MBSE). Model based testing is a software testing approach in which test cases are automatically generated and executed from a model, a formal specification of the system under test. This approach allows for a high degree of test automation and more thorough testing.

Models are written in a domain specific language (the Axini Modeling Language) using a text editor included in our web application. The models can be visualized to inspect the states and transitions of the underlying symbolic transition system. This aids modelers understand and reason about their models, which is valued greatly.

However, this is a one-way street: we cannot generate model text from the visualization. We are interested in visual modeling tools to empower less technical users to model and test their systems.

There are techniques that make it possible to keep textual and visual models in sync. For example, the Xtext textual editors can be used in sync with the Sirius diagram editors using the EMF framework for the integration of their functionality.

A key challenge in visual modeling is having an intermediate (AST) representation that can be edited both textually and visually. This representation must provide a middle ground between the high-level concepts of the textual language and the elements of the visual language.

Possible research questions

There are several puzzles and research questions that students can work on.

Visual modeling technologies
What techniques are available to enable visual programming or modeling?
Language design for hybrid modeling
What constraints does such an hybrid modeling approach impose on the concepts in the modeling language?
Intermediate representation
Which intermediate representation(s) can unify (visual) LTS or STS models with a high-level textual model?

Recent work

Recent work at Axini on this topic: