Will this new project be Unbelievable?

EMF-IncQuery project to push forward new EMF API

Chris Mayer

A new proposal has surfaced at Eclipse – IncQuery is set to revitalise EMF for scalability and big data modelling challenges

With no less than six EMF subprojects set to be part of next
month’s Eclipse
Release train, you’d think that there wouldn’t be any time
to innovate and add extra functionalities to the modelling framework.

But already plans are afoot to push Eclipse’s modelling
framework even further, with a new subproject proposed entitled
‘EMF-IncQuery’, which is entrusted with revitalising the framework
with a brand new API for querying EMF models.

Numerous challenges to the current EMF set-up have become
apparent, namely these three noted in the proposal itself:

  • Simple backward getters are missing from the EMF API,
    which are essential to modelling applications.
  • No standard way to define complex queries that concern
    multi-object configurations.
  • Existing EMF query technologies are not optimized for
    in-memory scalability, and thus have performance
    issues when used with complex queries and large instance

All three are understandably important should the EMF framework
want to move forward. IncQuery will be a lightweight framework
hopefully eradicating these problems. Efficient support for
evaluating backward getters will be provided from the new IncQuery
API, plus high-performance incremental query engines to aid complex
queries. Finally the project will provide a user-friendly,
declarative graph pattern-based query language and tools for
easy definition of queries, and a DSL too. This will based on
Eclipse’s framework language helper Xtext. The scope is fairly wide
at this point, with a lot of emphasis placed upon IncQuery to push
the modelling framework moving forward.

Below is an architectural overview for IncQuery:

Technically speaking, the query
evaluator based on a graphic pattern matching engine that makes use
of the RETE algorithm, whilst the tools will be packaged as
Xtext-based editor with an development
environment, making o
n-the-fly requests

The initial contribution, expected tomorrow, from
the Budapest University of Technolgy and Economics will come
in the form of plug-ins and core components, before a first build
in June. We’ll have to wait a while yet for EMF IncQuery 1.0, as
that is expected to land in June 2013. But it’s great to see a
project aware of its shortcomings and seeking to erase them early.
With IncQuery, speedy querying and a future of scalable robust EMF
models will be realised. Check out the full proposal here.

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