For many years the EDA language architects have worked toward a system architecture language that could allow the "correct by construction" approach to system level design. The Unified Modeling Language (UML), was created by the Object Management Group and adopted as a supported technology by that group in 1997. it6 is used mostly to model software intensive systems, but has been shown to be useful in modeling hardware/software systems as well.
Although there have been alternative developments that more specifically target hardware systems, like Rosetta, they have not succeeded in gathering enough interest from potential users, and the Rosetta project remains unfinished. Mentor Graphics has always been a major participant in modeling languages engineering, playing key roles in VHDL and SystemVerilog for example. The company has developed its own version of UML, called xUML that incorporates extensions to the languages that Mentor deems appropriate to aid in the use of the language for hardware/software architectures.
This week Mentor Graphics announced its intention to place the front-end UML editor of its BridgePoint xtUML environment into the open source domain. This action is intended to provide the system design community with broader access to comprehensive UML editing capabilities, encouraging advancement to powerful executable and translatable model-driven development. With this move, Mentor clearly hopes that open source contributors will accelerate the improvement of the BridgePoint editor.
BridgePoint is a xtUML-based environment built upon the Eclipse IDE platform. The term xtUML indicates extensions to the standard UML, which enables execution of the UML model to verify its behavior along with translation of the UML into downstream implementation languages such as C, C++, SystemC and others, while supporting interface standards like IP-XACT and AUTOSAR.
BridgePoint is comprised of a UML editor, a verifier (providing simulated execution capability), and a set of model compilers (providing translation). Mentor Graphics is moving the UML editor portion into the open source domain, providing the industry with a free entry point towards full model-driven development flows that can be augmented with user-developed model compilers. The BridgePoint product’s verifier and the current portfolio of commercial grade model compilers, which will plug into the open source UML editor, will remain Mentor Graphics products.
The code being placed into the open source domain includes the xtUML meta-model, the xtUML model of BridgePoint, and the Java source that interfaces with the Eclipse environment. Given the latest legal moves by Oracle against Google regarding the Android operating system, I wonder if it is prudent for Mentor to include the Java interface to its own proprietary products with the open source package.