A modeling language is any artificial language that can be used to express information or knowledge or systems in a structure that is defined by a consistent set of rules. The rules are used for interpretation of the meaning of components in the structure.
A modeling language can be graphical or textual.
An example of a graphical modeling language and a corresponding textual modeling language is EXPRESS.
Not all modeling languages are executable, and for those that are, the use of them doesn't necessarily mean that programmers are no longer required. On the contrary, executable modeling languages are intended to amplify the productivity of skilled programmers, so that they can address more challenging problems, such as parallel computing and distributed systems.
A large number of modeling languages appear in the literature.
Example of graphical modeling languages in the field of computer science, project management and systems engineering:
Examples of graphical modeling languages in other fields of science.
In the field of computer science recently more specific types of modeling languages have emerged.
Algebraic Modeling Languages (AML) are high-level programming languages for describing and solving high complexity problems for large scale mathematical computation (i.e. large scale optimization type problems). One particular advantage of AMLs like AIMMS, AMPL, GAMS, LPL, MPL, OPL and OptimJ is the similarity of its syntax to the mathematical notation of optimization problems. This allows for a very concise and readable definition of problems in the domain of optimization, which is supported by certain language elements like sets, indices, algebraic expressions, powerful sparse index and data handling variables, constraints with arbitrary names. The algebraic formulation of a model does not contain any hints how to process it.
Domain-specific modeling (DSM) is a software engineering methodology for designing and developing systems, most often IT systems such as computer software. It involves systematic use of a graphical domain-specific language (DSL) to represent the various facets of a system. DSM languages tend to support higher-level abstractions than General-purpose modeling languages, so they require less effort and fewer low-level details to specify a given system.
A framework-specific modeling language (FSML) is a kind of domain-specific modeling language which is designed for an object-oriented application framework. FSMLs define framework-provided abstractions as FSML concepts and decompose the abstractions into features. The features represent implementation steps or choices.
A FSML concept can be configured by selecting features and providing values for features. Such a concept configuration represents how the concept should be implemented in the code. In other words, concept configuration describes how the framework should be completed in order to create the implementation of the concept.
Object modeling language are modeling languages based on a standardized set of symbols and ways of arranging them to model (part of) an object oriented software design or system design.
Some organizations use them extensively in combination with a software development methodology to progress from initial specification to an implementation plan and to communicate that plan to an entire team of developers and stakeholders. Because a modeling language is visual and at a higher-level of abstraction than code, using models encourages the generation of a shared vision that may prevent problems of differing interpretation later in development. Often software modeling tools are used to construct these models, which may then be capable of automatic translation to code.
Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), before 1995 known as the Virtual Reality Markup Language is a standard file format for representing 3-dimensional (3D) interactive vector graphics, designed particularly with the World Wide Web in mind.
Various kinds of modeling languages are applied in different disciplines, including computer science, information management, business process modeling, software engineering, and systems engineering. Modeling languages can be used to specify:
Modeling languages are intended to be used to precisely specify systems so that stakeholders (e.g., customers, operators, analysts, designers) can better understand the system being modeled.
The more mature modeling languages are precise, consistent and executable. Informal diagramming techniques applied with drawing tools are expected to produce useful pictorial representations of system requirements, structures and behaviors, but not much else. Executable modeling languages applied with proper tool support, however, are expected to automate system verification, validation, simulation and code generation from the same representations.