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KIELER: The Kiel Integrated Environment for Layout (Eclipse Rich Client)

KIELER is a research platform for exploring the pragmatics of graphical modeling: improving the productivity of developers by eliminating tasks that don't contribute anything to the result.

KIELER is based on the Eclipse framework and is developed as open source software, licensed under the Eclipse Public License. Being a research project, there are different people working in different areas of the project. There are four areas the project can be divided into:


The layout area provides the foundation for pretty much everything else in KIELER. Much effort in the Pragmatics area has gone into freeing the user from so-called "enabling steps": things a developer has to do to prepare for the model change he actually wants to make. This will usually be things like moving nodes around to make space for other nodes, taking care of edge routing etc. Good layout algorithms are necessary to be able to free the user from tasks like this that don't actually contribute anything to the final model.

The core component is KIML, the Kieler Infrastructure for Meta Layout. KIML provides the connection between graphical editors on the one hand, and layout algorithms on the other hand. Besides integrating various open source graph layout libraries such as OGDF and Graphviz, KIELER also includes custom layout algorithms in KLay, the Kieler Layouters component. The most important and most advanced algorithm is KLay Layered, a layer-based layout algorithm targeted primarily at the layout of data flow diagrams. However, KIELER also includes KLay Force, which provides implementations of force-based layout algorithms, as well as a KLay Planar, a planarization-based algorithm. Our custom layout algorithms are implemented in pure Java and can easily be adapted to be used outside of Eclipse as well. There's also the KWebS component, which makes our layout algorithms available as a web service. Finally, GrAna, our graph analysis component, allows us to compute a whole lot of different metrics for diagrams, which is handy when it comes to evaluating the performance of our layout algorithms.

Learn more about layout


Learn more about pragmatics


Learn more about semantics


Demonstrators are editors we use to test and demonstrate the technologies developed in the other three areas.

ThinKCharts is KIELER's SyncCharts editor. It is used to test a lot of the ideas in the Pragmatics area. Through our simulation components, SyncCharts can also be executed, with current states highlighted in the editor.

KAOM, the Kieler Actor-Oriented Modeling component, provides a viewer for data flow diagrams. Its primary use is to provide a realistic application for our layer-based layout algorithm. Through KARMA, the Kieler Advanced Rendering of Model Appearance component, we can make sure the data flow diagrams look very similar to what they look like in other tools. We primarily support the import and displayal of Ptolemy models.

Finally, the Graphs provides a simple editor for diagrams. It is used during the development of layout algorithms.

Learn more about demonstrators

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