Evaluating the effort of composing design models: A controlled experiment

Kleinner Farias, Alessandro Garcia, Jon Whittle, Christina von Flach Garcia Chavez, Carlos Lucena

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The lack of empirical knowledge about the effects of model composition techniques on developers' effort is the key impairment for their widespread adoption in practice. This problem applies to both existing categories of model composition techniques, i.e. specification-based (e.g. Epsilon) and heuristic-based (e.g. IBM RSA) techniques. This paper reports on a controlled experiment that investigates the effort to: (1) apply both categories of model composition techniques, and (2) detect and resolve inconsistencies in the output composed models. The techniques are investigated in 144 evolution scenarios, where 2304 compositions of elements of class diagrams were produced. The results suggest that: (1) the employed heuristic-based techniques require less effort to produce the intended model than the chosen specification-based technique, (2) the correctness of the output composed models generated by the techniques is not significantly different, and (3) the use of manual heuristics for model composition outperforms their automated counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModel Driven Engineering Languages and Systems
Subtitle of host publication15th International Conference, MODELS 2012, Innsbruck, Austria, September 30-October, 2012 [proceedings]
EditorsRobert B. France, Jurgen Kazmeier, Ruth Breu, Colin Atkinson
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783642336669
ISBN (Print)9783642336652
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventACM/IEEE International Conference on Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems 2012 - Innsbruck, Austria
Duration: 30 Sep 20125 Oct 2012
Conference number: 15th
https://dl.acm.org/doi/proceedings/10.5555/2404962 (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceACM/IEEE International Conference on Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems 2012
Abbreviated titleMoDELS 212
Internet address


  • Effort measurement
  • Empirical studies
  • Model composition effort

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