Are Domain-Specific Models Easier to Maintain Than UML Models?

Author(s): L Cao, B Ramesh, M Rossi
Venue: IEEE Software
Date: 2009

Type of Experiement: Controlled Experiment
Sample Size: 64
Class/Experience Level: Undergraduate Student
Participant Selection: senior undergraduate IT students in system analysis and design courses that included advanced UML training
Data Collection Method: Observation, Survey


Domain-specific modeling (DSM) languages have been adopted in many industries, but these languages haven't yet gained wide acceptance in practice. This is because the claims of increased productivity and ease of understanding haven't been verified by independent studies. To address this concern, this article compares the maintenance performance of the Enterprise Mobile Application DSM (EMADSM) language and UML. Maintenance in software-intensive systems is critical because software often continuously evolves not only during development but also after delivery, to meet users' ever-changing needs. So, maintenance performance significantly impacts software development productivity. Study results show that maintenance is significantly easier and faster with EMADSM than with UML. This finding has considerable implications for companies that maintain evolving systems.