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MontiCore Languages of Level II - an Overview

MontiCore is a language workbench with an explicit notion of language components. It uses grammars to describe textual DSLs. MontiCore uses an extended grammar format that allows to compose language components via inheritance, embedding and aggregation (see the reference manual for details).

A language component is mainly represented through (1) the grammar describing concrete and abstract syntax of the language, (2) Java-classes implementing specific functionalities, and (3) Freemarker-Templates helping to print a model to text. However, language components are often identified with their main component grammar.

Language components are currently organized in two levels: In this list you mainly find grammars for complete (but also reusable and adaptable) languages (Level II). A list of grammar components with individual reusable nonterminals is also available in the MontiCore core project (development status) (Level I).

The following list contains the language grammars found in the MontiCore projects, such as cd4analysis/cd4analysis. They are usually contained in project folders like src/main/grammars/ and organized in packages like MontiCore projects are hosted at

List of Languages

Class Diagram For Analysis (CD4A) (MontiCore stable)

  • CD4A is the textual representation to describe UML class diagrams (it uses the UML/P variant).
  • CD4A covers classes, interfaces, inheritance, attributes with types, visibilities, and all kinds of associations and composition, including qualified and ordered associations. Classes can be placed in different packages. An example:
classdiagram MyLife { 
  abstract class Person {
    int age;
    Date birthday;
    List<String> nickNames;
  package com.universityLib {
    <<myStereotype>> class Student extends Person {
      StudentStatus status;
    enum StudentStatus { ENROLLED, FINISHED; }

  composition Person -> Address [*]  {ordered};
  association [0..2] Person (parent) <-> (child) Person [*];
  association phonebook Person [String] -> PhoneNumber ;
  • CD4A focusses on the analysis phase in typical data-driven development projects and is therefore mainly for data modelling. Consequently, it omits method signatures and complex generics. The primary use of the CD4A language is therefore data modelling. The CD4A language opens various possibilities for the development of data structures, database tables as well as data transport infrastructures in cloud and distributed systems.
  • Main grammar and detailed description

Class Diagram for Code (CD4Code) (MontiCore stable)

  • CD4Code describes UML class diagrams.
  • CD4Code is a conservative extension of CD4A, which includes method signatures. An example:
classdiagram MyLife2 {
  // like CD4A but also allows:
  class Person {
    protected List<Person> closestFriends(int n);
    void addFriend(Person friends...);
    <<myStereotype>> void relocate();

Feature Diagrams (MontiCore stable)

  • Language for feature models and feature configurations.
  • Feature diagrams are used to model (software) product lines and their variants.
  • Feature configurations select a subset of features of a feature model to describe a product of the product line. An example:
featurediagram MyPhones {
  Phone -> Memory & OS & Camera? & Screen;
  Memory -> Internal & External?;
  Internal -> [1..2] of {Small, Medium, Large};
  OS -> iOS ^ Android;
  Screen -> Flexible | FullHD;

  Camera requires (iOS && External) || Android ;

Rules F -> ... have a parent feature (left-hand side) and its child features (right-hand side). Operators are: optional feature ?, and &, or |, xor ^, and subset cardinality constraints, like [1..2] of .... Further, a feature model may define cross-tree constraints using logic operators and &&, or ||, implication requires, etc. * Main grammar FeatureDiagram and detailed description

GUI DSL (Alpha: Intention to become stable)

  • Language for textual definition of Graphical User Interfaces of Web Applications
  • GUI DSL covers GUI elements and relevant configuration, which include layout elements, widgets, their style definition and references to data sources.
  • Language is mainly used to describe GUI of Web Applications. The models of the language represent graphical views or their parts, omitting smaller details of style definition and simplifying connection between graphical elements and data sources.
  • Currently new version of the GUIDSL is being developed:
  • Basis grammar GUIBasis includes constructs for general visualization component definitions, control statements and components for layout description.
  • Example models can be found in the same repository.
  • Main grammar GUIDSL includes basic concepts and more specific implementation of component configuration .
  • In projects legacy version is currently used:
  • Examples: MaCoCo, Ford
  • Main grammar GUIDSL includes definitions of MontiGem visualisation components, which are based on abstract concepts, described in core grammar GUIDSLCore. Detailed description and documentation.

MontiCore Grammar (MontiCore Stable)

  • Language for MontiCore Grammars itself. It can be understood as meta language, but also used as ordinary language.
  • Its main use currently: A MontiCore grammar defines the concrete syntax and the abstract syntax of a textual language. Examples: All languages on this page are defined using MontiCore grammars and thus conform to this Grammar.
  • Main features: Define nonterminals and their productions in EBNF, lexical token as regular expressions.
  • Most important extensions to standard grammars:
  • Abstract, interface and external productions allow to define extensible component grammars (object-oriented grammar style).
  • Inherited productions can be redefined (overwritten) as well as conservatively extended.
  • Symbol and scope infrastructure is defined by simple keywords.
  • Symbols definition places can be introduced and symbol referencing places defined, such that for standard cases automatically symbol tables can be added.
  • Additional attributes and methods can be added to the abstract syntax only.
  • Various elements, such as semantic predicates and actions can be defined in the same style as the underlying ANTLR.
  • MontiCore grammars can be left recursive and even allow mutual recursion. This is e.g. useful for expression hierarchies.
  • Additional elements, such as enum productions and comfortable operations for grammar definitions exist.
  • Main grammars de.monticore.grammar.Grammar defines the language with some open parameters and de.monticore.grammar.Grammar_WithConcepts binds the external, imported expressions, method bodies, etc.
  • Detailed description in the MontiCore Reference Manual.

JSON (MontiCore Stable)

  • The MontiCore language for parsing JSON artifacts. An example:
{ "Alice": {
    "fullname": "Alice Anderson",
    "address": {
      "postal_code": 10459, 
      "street": "Beck Street",
      "number": 56              }  },
  "Bob": { ... },
  "Caroll": { ... }, ...
  • The JSON grammar adheres to the common JSON standard and allows parsing arbitrary JSON artifacts for further processing.
  • Actually the grammar represents a slight superset to the official JSON standard. It is intended for parsing JSON-compliant artifacts. Further well-formedness checks are not included, because we assume to parse correctly produced JSON documents only.
  • Please note that JSON (like XML or ASCII) is primarily a carrier language. The concrete JSON dialect and the question, how to recreate the real objects / data structures, etc. behind the JSON tree structure is beyond this grammar, but can be applied to the AST defined here.
  • Main grammar de.monticore.lang.JSON and detailed description

MontiArc (MontiCore Stable)

  • MontiArc is an architecture and behavior modeling language and framework that provides an platform independent structure and behavior modeling language with an extensible code generation framework.
  • MontiArc covers components their ports, connectors between components and
    embedded statecharts for component behavior description.
  • Statecharts define states and transitions with conditions on the incoming messages as well as transition actions. An example:
component InteriorLight {                           // MontiArc language
  port in Boolean lightSignal,          // ports
       in Boolean doorSignal
       out OnOff status;
  ORGate or;                            // used subcomponents
  lightSignal -> or.a;                  // connectors
  doorSignal -> or.b;
  or.c -> cntr.signal;
  component LightController cntr {      // freshly defined subcomponent 
    port in OnOff signal,
         out OnOff status;
    statechart {                        // with behavior by a Statechart
      initial state Off / {status = OFF};
      state On;
      Off -> On [ signal == true ] / {status = ON}
      On -> Off [ signal == false ] / {status = OFF}
  cntr.status -> status;
  • MontiArc's main goal is to provide a textual notation for Component&Connector diagrams, which is used quite often in various variants in industry. E.g. SysML's BDD, UML's component composition diagrams use the same paradigm.
  • MontiArc does not define data types for their signals, but assumes that these types can be imported (e.g. from a class diagram).
  • MontiArc itself also has no timing predefined, but for a complete language a concrete timing, such as formally grounded by Focus, should be added.
  • Main grammar MontiArc.mc4 and detailed description

OCL/P (MontiCore Stable)

  • OCL/P is the textual representation of the UML OCL standard, adapted with Java-like syntax. It's main goal is the usage in combination with other languages like CD4A or Object Diagrams as an integrated part of that languages.
  • OCL/P allows to define invariants and pre/post conditions in the known OCL style plus some extensions, such as a generalized let construction. Furthermore, it offers a large set expressions to model constraints. These expressions include Java expressions, set operations, list operations etc., completely covering the OCL standard concepts, but extend it e.g. by set comprehensions known from Haskell, a typesafe cast or a transitive closure operator. An example shows several of the above mentioned syntactic features:
ocl Bookshop {
  context Shop s inv CustomerPaysBeforeNewOrder:      // invariant
    forall Customer c in s.customers:                 // quantifiers available
      c.allowedToOrder implies !exists Invoice i in s.invoices:
        i.customer == c && i.moneyPayed < i.invoiceAmount ;

  // Method specification for selling a book
  context Invoice Stock.sellBook(String iban, int discountPercent, Customer c) 
    let availableBooks =                              // set comprehension
          { book | Book book in booksInStock, book.iban == iban }
    pre:  !availableBooks.isEmpty &&                  // precondition
    post: let discount = (100 - discountPercent)/100; // postcondition, let
              b = result.soldBook                     // result variable 
              !(b isin booksInStock) &&
              booksInStock.size@pre == booksInStock.size + 1 &&  // @pre
              result.invoiceAmount == b.price * discount;  // result variable 

Object Diagrams (MontiCore Stable)

  • OD is a language for textual denotation of object diagrams. The OD language has several purposes (when combined with appropriate language extensions):
  • specification language for object structures (as part of the UML/P)
  • store and transport of data sets (e.g. the artifact analysis toolchain), and
  • report format for the MontiCore tool infrastructure.
  • OD covers named and anonymous objects, object types, links, attributes, attribute values, lists, maps, and visibilities. Special data types, such as Date allow comfortable definition and reading of ODs. For a comfortable definition, objects may be nested into trees while easily retaining their full graph structure. An example:
objectdiagram MyFamily {
  alice:Person {
    age = 29;
    cars = [
      :BMW {
        color = BLUE;
      tiger:Jaguar {
        color = RED;
        length = 5.3; 
  bob:Person {
    nicknames = ["Bob", "Bobby", "Robert"];
    cars = [tiger];
  link married alice <-> bob;
  • If ODs are used as specification techniqe, e.g. for tests or forbidden situations, a more expressive version of expressions can be used for values (e.g. by composing ODs with JavaExpressions). Furthermore, only interesting attributes need to be defined (underspecification) and conformity to a CD4A model can be checked.
  • The ODs differ from JSON structures, e.g., in the possibility to give the object a name as it is the case for tiger, or alice enabaling the definition real graph structures.
  • Main grammars (directly usable):
  • Main grammar components:
  • Detailed description

Sequence Diagrams (MontiCore stable)

  • A textual sequence diagram (SD) language.
  • Detailed description
  • The project includes grammars, a symbol table infrastructure, a PrettyPrinter, and various CoCos for typechecking.
  • The language is divided into the two grammars SDBasis and SD4Development.
  • The grammar SDBasis is a component grammar providing basic SD language features.
  • The grammar SD4Development extends the grammar SDBasis with concepts used in UML/P SDs.
  • SD4Development supports modeling objects, method calls, returns, exception throws, dynamic object instantiation, various match modifiers for objects (free, initial, visible, complete), life lines with activation regions, static method calls, intermediate variable declarations by using OCL, and conditions by using OCL.
  • The grammars can easily be extended by further interactions and object modifiers.
  • The following depicts a simple SD in its textual syntax.
sequencediagram AuctionTest {
  kupfer912: Auction;         // Interacting objects
  bidPol: BiddingPolicy;
  timePol: TimingPolicy;
                              // Interaction sequence
  kupfer912 -> bidPol  : validateBid(bid)
  bidPol -> kupfer912  : return BiddingPolicy.OK;
  kupfer912 -> timePol : newCurrentClosingTime(kupfer912, bid) 
  timePol -> kupfer912 : return t;
  assert t.timeSec == bid.time.timeSec + extensionTime;

SI Units (MontiCore Stable)

  • The international system of units (SI units) is a physical unit system widely used in the entire world. It is based on the basis units s, m, kg, A, K, mol, cd, provides a variety of derived units, and can be refined using prefixes such as m(milli), k(kilo), etc.
  • The SI Unit project aims to deliver SI units to MontiCore-based languages with expressions. It provides a grammar for all types of SI units and prefixes usable for type definition.
  • Second, it provides the SI Unit literals, such as 5 km as expression values and a language for SI unit types, such as km/h or km/h<long>. Some examples:
  km/h speed = 5 m / 27 s                         // variable definition using type km/h
  speed = (3 * 4m  +  17km/h * 10h) / 3.5h        // values with SI unit types
  °C/s<float> coolingSpeed;                       // types (°C/s) with precision (float)
  g/mm^2<int> pressure; 
  Map<Location,°C> temperatures;                  // nesting of types 
  • The SI unit literals integrate with MontiCore's expressions and the SI Unit types integrate with MontiCore's type system. The SI unit language remains fully type safe.
  • The math version uses km/h as idealistic full precision real number, while the computing version allows to contrain the precision with km/h<long>.
  • Main grammar components:
  • Example projects:
  • detailed description

Statecharts (MontiCore stable)

  • A set of language variants for Statecharts (UML-like or also embedded SysML-like).
  • It is possible to define syntactically simpler or more complex and comfortable forms of statecharts using a subset of the eleven provided language components. Two complete Statechart language variants are composed for direct usability.
  • A compact teaser for one variant of the Statechart languages:
statechart Door {
  state Opened
  initial state Closed
  state Locked

  Opened -> Closed close() /
  Closed -> Opened open(1) / {ringTheDoorBell();}
  Closed -> Locked timeOut(n) / { lockDoor(); } [doorIsLocked]
  Locked -> Closed [isAuthorized() && doorIsLocked] unlock() /
  • This example models the different states of a door: Opened, Closed, and Locked. A transition is triggered e.g. by function/method call close() that changes a from a state Opened to state Closed.
  • Transitions can have actions, such as {ringDoorBell();} containing in this case Java statements, or preconditions, such as [ ... ] containg a Boolean expression.
  • State invariants and transition preconditions are defined using Expressions and entry/exit/transition actions are defined using Statements.
  • A Statechart may also have hierarchically decomposed states and other forms of events (not shown here).
  • Detailed description

SysML_2 (Alpha: Intention to become stable)

  • MontiCore languages for parsing artifacts of the SysML 2 language famlily. Examples:
package 'Vehicles' {                      // a SysML block diagram
  private import ScalarValues::*; 
  block Vehicle; 
  block Truck is Vehicle; 
  value type Torque is ISQ::TorqueValue; 
package 'Coffee' {                      // a SysML activity diagram
  activity BrewCoffee (in beans : CoffeeBeans, in, water : Water, out coffee : Coffee) { 
    bind grind::beans = beans;
    action grind : Grind (in beans, out powder);
    flow grind::powder to brew::powder;
    bind brew::water = water;
    action brew : Brew (in powder, in water, out coffee); 
    bind brew::coffee = coffee;
  • The SysML 2 grammars adhere to the general upcoming SysML 2 specification (which is still under improvement currently).
  • Actually these grammars represents a slight superset to the official SysML 2 standard. It is intended for parsing SysML 2-compliant models. Well-formedness checks are kept to a minimum, because we assume to parse correctly produced SysML 2 models only.
  • MontiCore's SysML 2 is a language familiy that comes with a textual representation to describe SysML 2 diagrams with respect to the standard.
  • SysML 2 covers ADs, BDDs, IBDs, PackageDiagrams, ParametricDiagrams, RequirementDiagrams, SDs, SMDs, UseCaseDiagrams, and general SysMLBasics
  • Main grammars and detailed description

Tagging (Alpha: Intention to become stable)

  • Tags are known e.g. from the UML and SysML and mainly used to add extra information to a model element. Normally tags (and stereotypes) are inserted within the models, which over time polutes the models, especially when different sets of tags are needed for different technical platforms.
  • MontiCore offers a solution that separates a model and its tags into distinct artifacts. Several independent tagging artifacts can be added without any need to adapt the core model. This allows fo reuse even of fixed library models.
  • The tagging artifacts are dependent on two factors:
  • First, tags can be added to named elements of the base model. It is of great help that we have an elegant symbol mechanism included in the MontiCore generator.
  • Second, the set of allowed tags can be constrained, by an explicit definition of allowed tag types and tag values and an explicit declaration on which kinds of symbols a tag may be attached to.
  • Consequently tagging is not a single language, but a method to automatically and schematically derive languages:
    • A tagging schema language TSL (dependent on the available symbol types of the base grammar)
    • a tagging language TL (dependent on the tag schema models written in TSL)
  • Because tagging models can e.g. be used as configuration techniques in a code generator, appropriate infrastructure is generated as well.
  • Some tagging language examples
  • Although concrete languages (and their grammars) are themselves generated, there is a main grammar ocl.monticore.lang.Tagging, where the tagging language is derived from. See also detailed description

XML (Alpha: Intention to become stable)

  • The MontiCore language for parsing XML artifacts. An example:
  <Appointment name="lunch">
  • The XML grammar adheres to the common XML standard and allows parsing arbitrary XML artifacts for further processing.
  • Actually the grammar represents a slight superset to the official XML standard. It is intended for parsing XML-compliant artifacts. Further well-formedness checks are not included, because we assume to parse correctly produced XML documents only.
  • Please note that XML (like JSON or ASCII) is mainly a carrier language. The concrete XML dialect and the question, how to recreate the real objects / data structures, etc. behind the XML structure is beyond this grammar, but can be applied to the AST defined here.
  • Main grammar de.monticore.lang.XML and detailed description

JavaLight (MontiCore Stable)

  • This is a reduced version of the Java language. JavaLight is meant to be used to integrate simplified Java-like parts in modeling languages but not to parse complete Java implementations.
  • It provides Java's attribute and method definitions, statements and expressions, but does not provide class or interface definitions and also no wildcards in the type system.
  • One main usage of JavaLight is in the Grammar-language to model e.g. Java methods. An example:
public void print(String name) {
  System.out.println("Hello " + name);

Java (Beta: In Stabilization) (30% to MC6)

Further Information