MPS language visualizer

A JetBrains MPS plugin to visualize the structure of a language.

The visualization shows in an integrated toolwindow, but the visualisation can also viewed using an image viewer which refreshes on file change.

Check .travis.yml for the current MPS version of mps-langvis on master. Other versions can be found in the maintenance/ branches.

An integrated tool window is shown when visualizing (parts of) a language.

Tested with Linux, Windows and Mac.


The following installation instructions assume an apt-get package manager on Linux and the Chocolatey package manager ( on Windows.

Runtime prerequisites:

  1. Install the latest Oracle JDK ()
  2. Download PlantUML jar file from and store it into your home directory (%HOME% on windows or $HOME on linux), for instance /Users/diederikdulfer.
  3. Install GraphViz ( to satisfy PlantUML dependency (e.g. sudo apt-get install graphviz or choco install graphviz)
  4. For Windows: make sure your JAVA_HOME environment variable points to your JDK (e.g. set JAVA_HOME="c:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_45")
  5. (Optional) If you prefer an alternative to the integrated panel or the PlantUML viewer, install the auto-refreshing image viewer of your choice (e.g. sudo apt-get install eog or choco install irfanview)

Build prerequisites:

  1. Install above Runtime prerequisites
  2. Download and install ant (e.g. using sudo apt-get install ant or choco install apache.ant)
  3. Clone this git repository

Install plugin

Install plugin from

Build the plugin

  1. (Optional) regenerate the build.xml file

  2. Open the mps-langstructvis solution in MPS.

  3. Adjust the mps_home path in the build solution
  4. Rebuild all solutions (there should be a build.xml now in the top-level folder of the cloned repository)

  5. Run ant in the top-level folder the cloned repository

  6. For Windows, you would typically use the following command: ant -Dmps_home="C:\Program Files (x86)\JetBrains\MPS 3.1"

  7. For Mac, you would typically use the following command: ant -Dmps_home="/Applications/MPS"

In MPS, install the plugin:

  1. Select File -> Settings -> Plugins -> Install plugin from disk.
  2. From the build/artifacts/GenerateMetaModelDocumentation subdirectory of the project select the zip file.
  3. Press OK and Restart

Usage of the plugin

You can create the following types of visualizations:

When visualizing the structure, a tool windows automatically opens on the side.

The tool window allows you to select the following options using check boxes:

After adjusting the options, you need to press the refresh icon to apply the changes.

If the provided tool panel is not to your liking, there are two alternative methods of viewing the visualizations (see sections below)

(Optional) Viewing the visualization with PlantUML's auto-refreshing viewer

  1. From your home directory start java -jar ~/plantuml.jar. This will monitor the home directory for plantuml files and generate png files.
  2. Double click on the mps-metamodel.txt file and you will have a picture that autorefreshes every time you call the visualizer in MPS.

(Optional) Viewing the visualization with your favorite image viewer

  1. Start your image viewer (e.g. eog ~/mps-metamodel.png)
  2. If your viewer automatically refreshes, you can leave it open and keep on creating visualizations.