One of the most wide-spreading paradigms of software development is model-driven development, whereby an abstract model is prepared of the software system to be created. In the later stages of development this model serves as an adequate base for automatic generation of the executable source code of the application and for validating the operation of the whole system.
A further advantage of using the model-driven paradigm is that the ability to generate executable source code significantly reduces development cost and time as well as possibility of coding errors (due to the human factor).
Using the paradigm requires clear, well-defined domain syntaxes and languages to describe the structure and properties of each model.
The Eclipse open development environment provides an excellent opportunity to create and customize a variety of domain models thanks to the extensible platform and the availability of its modeling tools.
Domain-specific models are usually provided via graphical syntaxes as they make the development and design process using the model-driven paradigm easy to follow and understand. Therefore several frameworks with different capabilities and properties are available to define graphical description languages.
This paper provides an introduction to the open-source Eclipse-based graphical editors and compares them by implementing a domain-specific modelling task.
The properties and capabilities of each technology are demonstrated by the implementation of a specific graphical editor in each and every case, for which I created a graphical syntax for a particular domain-specific language. The comparison of these frameworks is done from general aspects regarding their capabilities and applicability.