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Aim of the project

The Xcore project aims to provide a textual syntax for the definition of EMF metamodels. You can use it not only to specify the structure of your model, but also the behavior of your operations and derived features as well as the conversion logic of your data types. It eliminates the dividing line between modeling and programming, combining the advantages of each.

Viewing the scope of the EMF-IncQuery project an idea may immediately arise; it would be really nice to use the powerful pattern language of EMF-IncQuery to define derived features in your Xcore metamodel. This projects aim to support exactly this functionality, that is, beyond the standard Xcore way to define derived features (basically with Xbase expressions), it is now possible to refer to pattern definitions in the Xcore files. One can specify which pattern should serve as the underlying logic for the evaluation of the given derived feature in runtime.

The integration was developed as seamlessly as possible; all the original Xcore semantics and toolset are still available, however, the IncQuery & Xcore editor now supports the definition of the above mentioned features with additional features like validation, proposal providers, etc.


  1. Eclipse Kepler release
  2. Latest Xtext release (2.4.x)
  3. Xcore (you can download it from the Kepler update site for example). At the moment the latest build does not contain some required patches, so for the time being please download the Xcore source plugins from the EMF git repository
  4. EMF-IncQuery (you can download it for example from the Eclipse Marketplace)

Overview and example

You can get a really good overview about the Xcore project here: In this section we will use the same metamodel but with additional derived feature definitions. To start trying out the project, create a new Xcore project and an IncQuery & Xcore file with the file extension .xcoreiq.

Note that, at the moment you can only use the IncQuery support for Xcore files if the metamodel and the patterns are defined in the same project, that is, the project must have both Xcore and IncQuery natures.

The metamodel that we use deals with simple classes like Library and Books inside it. We also want to store the authors of these books and various properties like citations between the books, the own books of an author, etc.

Two kinds of derived features can be defined:

  • attributes (EAttribute) with the 'incquery-derived' keyword. Naturally, the type of these features can be only primitive types
  • references (EReference) with the 'incquery-derived refers' keyword. The type of these features can be any reference type (user-defined classes for example)


The generated metamodel artifacts can be used in two different use cases:

  1. Dynamic Instance Mode: debugging of metamodels and queries are made easy with this functionality. One can develop the metamodel and queries at the same time, in the same workspace. You just need to create a dynamic instance model and you can modify your model on the fly. All the values of the features can be observed through the Properties View of Eclipse.
  2. Using the Generated Code: the standard EMF model/edit/editor/tests code can be also generated and used in an other instance of Eclipse.

Advanced issues

SettingDelegates for the evalutation of derived features.

Further TODOs

- There are certain changes in the IncQuery codebase which should be investigated and if appropriate, applied to master.

(1) EPackage importing 
(2) MetaModelProviderService should consider the EPackage which is a child of the XcoreResource (in the ResourceSet)
(3) Custom JavaProjectProvider is needed: when the dynamic instance model is loaded the ResourceSet's type will be AdapterFactoryEditingDomainResourceSet, 

which will not be handled correctly by the default XtextResourceSetBasedProjectProvider class.

- Xcore & EMF related changes

(1) EcoreEditor: the Xcore ResourceSet should be read only. The read only file extensions are hard coded at the moment in this class.

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