Extending Object-Oriented Graphical Design Notations with Visual Scripting Capabilities

G. Kappel, M. Schrefl
Kapp90a (1990)
Workshop on Graphics for Object-Oriented Software Engineering (GOOSExab 90), Ottawa, Canada, October 1990.


We propose to include visual scripting capabilities in object-oriented graphical design notations. Scripting is a programming technique in which applications are built by composing specially designed, pre-packaged software components. Visual scripting refers to the graphical representation and to the interactive editing of scripts. A script consists of components, ports and links. Components represent different kinds of possible parameterized software. Ports represent unbound parameters of software components. Links, connecting ports, represent actual parameter bindings. Although scripting has been originally investigated for high-level application development reusing pre-existing software components, we show that the graphical representations of scripts are an ideal means to visualize operation realization and message passing of object-oriented systems. Currently, object-oriented graphical design notations focus mainly on the representation of the interfaces of classes, of the interfaces of individual operations, and of general communication patterns (i.e., which classes or operations use other classes or operations). Scripting provides for an additional level of detail by visualizing operation realizations and message passing between objects.