OSTRICH - A Type-Safe Template Language for Low-Code Development

Hugo Lourenco, Carla Ferreira, João Costa Seco

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

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Low-code platforms aim at allowing non-experts to develop complex systems and knowledgeable developers to improve their productivity in orders of magnitude. The greater gain comes from (re)using components developed by experts capturing common patterns across all layers of the application, from the user interface to the data layer and integration with external systems. Often, cloning sample code fragments is the only alternative in such scenarios, requiring extensive adaptation to reach the intended use. Such customization activities require deep knowledge outside of the comfort zone of low-code. To effectively speed up the reuse, composition, and adaptation of pre-defined components, low-code platforms need to provide safe and easy-to-use language mechanisms. This paper introduces OSTRICH, a strongly-typed rich templating language for a low-code platform (OutSystems) that builds on metamodel annotations and allows the correct instantiation of templates. We conservatively extend the existing metamodel and ensure that the resulting code is always well-formed. The results we present include a novel type safety verification of template definitions, and template arguments, providing model consistency across application layers. We implemented this template language in a prototype of the OutSystems platform and ported nine of the top ten most used sample code fragments, thus improving the reuse of professionally designed components.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 24th International Conference on Model-Driven Engineering Languages and Systems, MODELS 2021
Place of PublicationPiscataway
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages216-226
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-3495-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-3496-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event24th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Model-Driven Engineering Languages and Systems, MODELS 2021 - Virtual, Online, Japan
Duration: 10 Oct 202115 Oct 2021

Conference

Conference24th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Model-Driven Engineering Languages and Systems, MODELS 2021
Country/TerritoryJapan
CityVirtual, Online
Period10/10/2115/10/21

Keywords

  • development productivity
  • low-code
  • metamodel templating
  • model reuse
  • typechecking templates

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'OSTRICH - A Type-Safe Template Language for Low-Code Development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this