Declarative versus Imperative Process Modeling: The Issue of Understandability

D. Fahland, D. Lübke, J. Mendling, H. Reijers, B. Weber, M. Weidlich and S. Zugal

In: Proc. EMMSAD '09, pp. 353–366, 2009.

Abstract. Advantages and shortcomings of different process modeling languages are heavily debated, both in academia and industry, but little evidence is presented to support judgements. With this paper we aim to contribute to a more rigorous, theoretical discussion of the topic by drawing a link to well-established research on program comprehension. In particular, we focus on imperative and declarative styles of modeling a process. cognitive research has demonstrated that imperative programs deliver sequential information much better while declarative programs offer clear insight into circumstantial information. In this paper we show that in principle this argument can be transferred to respective features of process modeling languages. Our contribution is a pair of propositions that are routed in the cognitive dimensions framework. In future research, we aim to challenge these propositions by an experiment.


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Barbara Weber
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