MetaEdit and MetaEdit+

Both of these tools are fully-fledged metaCASE environments, in other words CASE tools where the user can modify the method supported, or add completely new methods. Both initially started as research prototypes, made by the MetaPHOR research group at the University of Jyväskylä Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, and both have been released as commercial products, available through MetaCase Consulting.

The main differences between the tools, and the main literature about each, are shown below. There is a substantial amount of publications about the tools, roughly divided into MetaEdit (1991-1994) and MetaEdit+ (1994-) as shown below. The articles here in general represent the finished product well: there are other articles that were written around 1993-4 that point the way ahead, but whose ideas have been changed as the development progressed.

Recently the environment has been augmented with better metamodeling support (graphical modeling support), better integrity management within metamodels, better report generation facilities and improved multi-user support. We have also implemented as research prototypes an extensive hypertext and authoring tool (so called Linking Ability), a process specification and management environment, a metamodeling environment for process languages, and a process enactment environment. We are currently working on an extensive reuse environment for both models and metamodels that support their classification, archival, search and adaptation.

MetaEdit MetaEdit+
Single-user Multi-user
Single representation: Diagram Multi-representation: Diagram, Matrix, Table
Single method and many graphs per file, no linking between files Multiple methods and projects all interlinked, repository based
Single platform: Windows Multi-platform: Windows, Mac, Unix
Distributed metamodelling: separate programs for symbol definition and compiling metamodels Integrated metamodelling: everything within one program
Graphical metamodelling, producing textual output which is compiled to metamodel Form-based metamodelling, working directly on metamodel
Smolander, K., "OPRR - A model for modeling systems development methods", Next Generation CASE Tools, Tahvanainen and Lyytinen(Ed.), IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp. 224-239, 1992 Kelly, S., Tahvanainen, V-P., Support for Incremental Method Engineering and MetaCASE, in Proceedings of the fifth workshop on the next generation of CASE tools, B. Theodoulidis (ed.), Memoranda Informatica 94-25, University of Twente, NL, pp. 140-148, 1994. 

Kelly, S., What's in a Relationship? On Distinguishing Property Holding and Object Binding, in Proceedings of ISCO3, E. Falkenberg et al. (eds.), Chapman & Hall, 1995. 

GOPRR Description: research and implementation viewpoint

Comparisons and reviews
Marttiin, P., Rossi, M., Tahvanainen, V.-P., Lyytinen, K., A comparative review of CASE shells - a preliminary framework and research outcomes, Information & Management, 25, pp. 11-31, 1993. Marttiin, P., Harmsen, F., Rossi, M., "A Functional Framework for evaluating CAME environments: The Case of Maestro II/Decamerone and MetaEdit+ assessment", IFIP WG8.1/8.2 Working Conference on Principles of Method Construction and Tool Support, Atlanta, USA, 26-28 August, 1996. 

Tolvanen, J.-P., K. Lyytinen, P. Marttiin, M. Jarke, K. Pohl, K. Weidenhaupt, CASE Environment Adaptability: Bridging the Islands of Automation", Proceedings of the 8th Annual Workshop on Information Technologies and Systems (WITS’98) (eds. S. March, J. Bubenko), Computer Science and Information System Reports, TR-19, University of Jyväskylä, pp. 115-126, 1998.

Jarke, M., Pohl, K., Weidenhaupt, K., Lyytinen, K., Marttiin, P., Tolvanen, J.-P. & Papazoglou, M. 1998. Meta Modeling: A Formal Basis for Interoperability and Adaptability. In B. Krämer & M. Papazoglou (Eds.), Information Systems Interoperability, John Wiley Research Science Press, 229-263.

Finalist in Best Application Development Tool, March 95 

Review in Byte Magazine, August 96


Smolander, K., Lyytinen, K., Tahvanainen, V.-P., Marttiin, P., "MetaEdit --- A Flexible Graphical Environment for Methodology Modelling", Advanced Information Systems Engineering, Proceedings of the Third International Conference CAiSE'91, Trondheim, Norway, May1991, Andersen et al (Ed.), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 168--193, 1991 

Rossi, M., CAME tools for MetaEdit, Proceedings of MetaCASE-95, Sunderland University Press, January 5-7, 1995.


We have implemented a multi-tool, multi-user, multi-paradigm metaCASE environment called MetaEdit+ (see figure) which uses a client-server architecture. The environment has been implemented in VisualWorks Smalltalk using the ArtBase object repository system and NEDT graphical programming environment. The environment can run on all major platforms including UNIX, Windows, NT and Macintosh.


The clickable map of the architecture of the MetaEdit+ environment leads to the individual components below. The publications relating to each component are a very rough set only. For more information, see





Model Editing

Diagram Editor

Matrix Editor

Kelly, S., A Matrix Editor for a MetaCASE Environment, in Information and Software Technology, vol. 36 no. 6, June 1994.

Kelly, S., "Towards a Comprehensive MetaCASE and CAME Environment: Conceptual, Architectural, Functional and Usability Advances in MetaEdit+", Ph.D. Thesis, Jyväskylä University, 1997 (Chapter 4, Section 5.2).

Table Editor

Kelly, S., "Towards a Comprehensive MetaCASE and CAME Environment: Conceptual, Architectural, Functional and Usability Advances in MetaEdit+", Ph.D. Thesis, Jyväskylä University, 1997 (Chapter 4, Section 5.3).

Model Retrieval

Repository Browsers

Kelly, S., "Towards a Comprehensive MetaCASE and CAME Environment: Conceptual, Architectural, Functional and Usability Advances in MetaEdit+", Ph.D. Thesis, Jyväskylä University, 1997 (Chapter 4, Section 6.1).

Query Editor

Liu, H., A Visual Approach to Querying the CASE Repository - A Requirements Analysis, in Proceedings of the sixth Workshop on the next generation of CASE tools, G. Grosz (ed.), Jyväskylä, Finland, pp. 143-160, June 1995.

Liu, H., A Visual Interface for Querying a CASE Repository, in Proceedings of the 11th IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, V. Haarslev (ed.), Darmstadt, Germany, pp. 21-28, September 1995.

Liu H., On a Visual Approach of Querying the CASE repository, Licentiate thesis, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, 1996.

Report Editor

Kelly, S., "Towards a Comprehensive MetaCASE and CAME Environment: Conceptual, Architectural, Functional and Usability Advances in MetaEdit+", Ph.D. Thesis, Jyväskylä University, 1997 (Chapter 4, Section 7.3; Chapter 5, Section 3.3.2).

Tolvanen, J.-P., Kelly, S., "MetaEdit+ User's Guide", Technical Report, Department of Computer Science and information Systems, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, 1995 (see also section 3.3.5 in online manual).

Model Linking & Annotation

Hypertext tools

Kaipala, J. (1997) In Proceedings of CAiSE '97, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, June 16--20, Vol. 1250 (Eds, Olivé, A. and Pastor, J. A.) Springer, Berlin, pp. 217--230.

Kaipala, J. (1997) In Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Incorporating Hypertext Functionality Into Software Systems (HTF III), Hypertext '97 Conference(Eds, Ashman, H. L., Balasubramanian, V., Bieber, M. and Oinas-Kukkonen, H.) Southampton, UK.

Oinas-Kukkonen, H., Hypermedia Functionality in Modelling Tools, Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Incorporating Hypertext Functionality into Software Systems (HTF '96), Ashman, H. et al (eds.) Washington, USA, March 1996.

Debate Browser

Oinas-Kukkonen, H., Debate Browser - An Argumentation Tool for MetaEdit+ Environment, Proceedings of the Seventh European Workshop on the Next Generation of CASE Tools (NGCT '96), Crete, Greece, May 1996. (a)

Method Management

Graph, Object, Relationship, Role and Property Tools

Kelly, S., Lyytinen, K., Rossi, M., MetaEdit+: A Fully Configurable Multi-User and Multi-Tool CASE and CAME Environment, in Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering, CAiSE'96, Heraklion, Crete, Greece, May 1996, Constantopoulos et al. (eds.), Springer-Verlag, Lecture Notes in Computer Science N:o 1080, Heidelberg, pp. 1-21, 1996.

Symbol Editor

For this and also for other tools mentioned above is more information available, see

MetaPHOR Home Page
Pages created by Steven Kelly. Last update September 27, 1999 by Jouni Huotari.