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I have worked with generative hierarchical state machine engines for years, mostly for medical devices. It's relatively easy to "roll your own" finite state machine, but it gets unwieldy quickly for anything other than the most basic problem. The two classic approaches, tables and nested switch statements are hard to read. You need a drawing, and one from which executable code is generated.

Hierarchical state machine drawings are the way to go but it's generally not practical to build one on your own. That said, I wrote my own anyway: OOSMOS, the Object-Oriented State Machine Operating System (https://www.oosmos.com). It generates object oriented C from a state chart drawn with the open source drawing tool UMLet. OOSMOS is open source.

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