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Automatic code generation from UML diagrams: the state-of-the-art

Maryam I. Mukhtar, Bashir S. Galadanci


The emergence of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) as the de-facto standard for modeling software systems has encouraged the development of automated software tools that facilitate automatic code generation. UML diagrams are used to diagrammatically model and specify the static structure as well as the dynamic behavior of object-oriented systems and the software tools then go ahead and automatically produce code from the given diagrams. In the last two decades substantial work has been done in this area of automatic code generation. This paper is aimed at identifying and classifying this work pertaining to automatic code generation from UML diagrams, restricting the search neither to a specific context nor to a particular programming language. A Systematic literature review (SLR) using the keywords “automatic code generation”, “MDE”, “code generation” and “UML” is used to identify 40 research papers published during the years 2000–2016 which are broadly classified into three groups: Approaches, Frameworks and Tools. For each paper, an analysis is made of the achievements and the gaps, the UML diagrams used the programming languages and the platform. This analysis helps to answer the main questions that the paper addresses including what techniques or implementation methods have been used for automatic code generation from UML Diagrams, what are the achievements and gaps in the field of automatic code generation from UML diagrams, which UML diagram is most used for automatic code generation from UML diagrams, which programming language source code is mostly automatically generated from the design models and which is the most used target platform? The answers provided in this paper will assist researchers, practitioners and developers to know the current state-of-the-art in automatic code generation from UML diagrams.

Keywords: Automatic Code Generation (ACG); Unified Modeling Language (UML); Model Driven Engineering (MDE)

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