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Using an MDA approach to model and evaluate cropping systems sustainability

Sohbi Y., Reau R., Müller J.P.. 2010. Operational Research, 10 (3) : p. 301-327.

DOI: 10.1007/s12351-009-0071-5

In agricultural research, to carry out experimental ex post evaluations, it is first necessary to design and evaluate a high number of Cropping Systems (CS). CRITER has recently been proposed as a tool to evaluate a priori these CS, spatially at the farm level and temporally at the crop succession level. In relation to the development of software applications in general and more particularly in the field of agronomic research, the most innovative aspect of our work is our Model-Driven Development approach. To construct CRITER we have adopted the Model-Driven Architecture (MDA) of the Object Management Group (OMG) which is based on the Meta-Object Facility (MOF) language. We have used the Enterprise Core Object (ECO) framework of the DELPHI Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The ECO framework helps the modeler at different steps of software development, from the graphical design in UML to the automatic code generation. The result is a fully navigable class diagram which allows us: (1) to build, in a simple way with few OCL expressions, the user interfaces; (2) to integrate commercial and user data bases via the automatic mapping of a class model to a relational data base schema; and (3) to easily implement the computation of the different indicators. Modelers can therefore focus on their business model rather than on the technical aspects of programming.

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