Musical notation is another very famous DSL. Also, the author is interested in best practices, so you will read his take on testing and continuous integration. In this case, a programming language can be easy to understand for you but read as complete gibberish to domain experts. I also remember asking questions on the Eclipse forums and not getting any answers. They are safer. What are the benefits you can achieve by using them? Historically, this has been reasonably difficult due to requiring in-depth knowledge of compilation theory and/or the use of one or more tools, each of which had its own learning curves. The Joel Test For Programmers (The Simple Programmer Test), My Secret To Ridiculous Productivity. The book will help you on different levels. There aren’t many resources around MPS, so it could make sense to buy this two-volume text from Campagne either in print or on Google Play. That time has a poor ROI. I remember the long days reading the EMF book as one of the most mind-numbingly boring experiences I have ever had. This two-part article is aimed at experienced C# .NET programmers who wish to write their own little computer languages (see part two here). They may also fear that a DSL lowers the bar, being simpler to use than, let's say, Java. You can get away with minor changes with a reasonable effort, but if you want to do advanced stuff, you need to learn the Eclipse internals, which is not easy. These words have specific meaning to chemists and may not be under… Specifically, it focus way too much on internal DSLs which are, as we all know, not the real thing. Then you can define for each of those object files how to obtain it from a corresponding source file. Esempi di DSL includono Logo per bambini, Verilog e il linguaggio di descrizione hardware VHSIC, i linguaggi R ed S per la statistica, Mata per la programmazione matriciale, Mathematica e Maxima per i simboli matematici, formule in fogli di calcolo e macro. He is addicted to GitHub, where it contributes to JavaParser and JavaSymbolSolver. I worked with them re-engineering the compiler, and the same code of their DSL is now used to generate reactive web applications. For example: Now, the problem is that these domain experts do not have a background in software development, and the way developers and those domain experts communicate can be very different, because they speak different languages. A typical example is spreadsheet programming using the Excel macro-language. Then there are chapters about working with the Abstract Syntax Tree, extracting information, and transforming it. An HTML page written 20 years ago can still be opened using devices that no one was able to imagine 20 years ago. You have seen why Domain Specific Languages are so cool and what benefits they can bring you. Such browsers read the content and support navigation to the different sections of the document. Suppose he needs to know the maximum temperature during August in Atlanta: Maybe Joe will never reach the level of a DBA, but he can learn a few basic queries and adapt them to his needs, making him more independent and letting his colleagues focus on their job instead of helping him out. We have discussed the importance of a DSL as a communication tool and medium to support co-design. It seems a simple question, but it doesn't have a single answer. We can also define some constants at the top of the file, so it is easy to change the Makefile later, if we need it. This is the kind of stuff you need to learn if you want to become a Language Engineer. They started building this DSL 30 years ago, and at that time they generated console applications. This company created its own DSL to define logic for accounting and tax calculations. Most of the people I have worked with DSLs as a key differentiator that helps them increase productivity by 10-20 times, reducing time-to-market and feedback cycles, increasing the longevity of their business logic, and much more. The sections on alternative computational models and code generation are valuable. You have probably heard of SQL. How it works in practice is that a developer defines specific commands like: “{name} has {amount}$ in his account” and defines the code that executes this command in the GPL chosen for the project (Ruby, Java, and others are supported). If you are serious about learning DSLs, here is a list of books you could look into. These are general programming languages (GPL)that are used for any number of purposes to solve any number of problems. You will have a hard time finding an exploration of these topics at this level of detail anywhere else. In many contexts you need to build software together with domain experts who are not themselves developers. This parser produces for you a model of your code using the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF), which basically means that you have to study this technology. First, it is very useful for setting your terminology straight. The same thing applies to programming: some problems are better solved with a specific language, for the reasons we are about to explore. Imagine using several DSLs to describe the logic of your problems, to define tests, to define documentation. When is the last time you had a Null Pointer Exception when working with HTML or SQL? Domain-specific languages (DSL) allow developers to tailor their application to a particular domain. Given this is based on his large experience in this field, there are a lot of interesting comments. But the basics are pretty simple and almost everyone can learn how to use it in a matter of minutes. Because you are giving them a superpower: the ability to do something on their own. Watch the video. It is much better to sit at a table and discuss the example we have displayed with a bank representative than it is to show him the hundreds of lines of Java which correspond to those commands, right? Specific tools offer support for specific languages. Xtext is a solid solution to build textual languages, and in many cases it is your best choice. Those are instructions for recognizing the structure of a piece of text. By contrast, languages such as UML are general-purpose. Why? He got a PhD on Polyglot Software Development, and he has been working in Italy, Germany, Ireland, and France. This language will be understood by developers, domain experts, and also by the software, which will be able to execute the instructions specified in the DSL. In this example, we specify that to create the program myExecutable we will need the object files, and once we have them, we will use gcc to link them together. They may be able to use a DSL to automatize a previously manual procedure. Plus, they misspelled my name (-1 point for that). I'm considering doing something with Domain Specific Languages for my undergraduate project. However, if you are ready to make the investment, it can revolutionize your processes. Embedded Domain Specific Language means that you embed a Domain specific language in a language like Haskell. If you are interested in Domain Specific Languages, you can take a look at an extended version of this article: The Complete Guide to Domain Specific Languages. The editors generated by Xtext can be deeply customized, if you know what you are doing. I have not used it, so I cannot vouch for it. Fowler is a famous thought leader and bestselling author. Describing documents or some of their specific aspects. I guess it is a good example of what can be achieved with DSLs. In some cases, you can give a DSL to domain experts and let them write their queries or logic alone. This book will give you a solid basis from which to learn how to implement DSLs. Alternatively, you can find the printed version on Amazon. These are the most classical languages. There are many reasons why you should really consider Domain Specific Languages. Domain-specific languages As program­mers, the idea of language-oriented program­ming may be new. DOT is a language that can describe graphs, either directed or non-directed. A Domain specific language is usually less complex than a general-purpose language, such as Java, C, or Ruby. The main idea behind developing a DSL is to provide a programming language for a narrowed down, specific domain. Do Software Developers Really Need Degrees? Yacc, Bison and ANTLR are examples of executable variations of BNF DSL. Never. Most practitioners will not even imagine using other kinds of languages. If you like to learn how stuff works, you should take a look at these chapters. At this point you end your journey, having seen how to build a useful language from start to finish. If you think about it, this is the case also for all the graphical languages: you see nice pictures, you drag them around, connect lines, and in the end the editor saves some obscure format, not the nice pictures you see on the screen. You may want to check out this list of projects implemented with Xtext to get an idea of what is possible to achieve using Xtext. It is also possible to start at the other end: first, you write your scenarios, as you want, trying to capture the requirements, and only later developers map each command to a corresponding function in a GPL. ANTLR comes with its own DSL to define lexer and parser grammars. We have already seen a number of examples of domain-specific languages in this book: The Game monad and its associated actions, developed in chapter 11, constitute a domain-specific language for the domain of text adventure game development. Unfortunately, I tend to err on the honesty side, so I warn you: this is one of the most boring books I have ever read. I’ve had the occasion to work with Markus, and he is simply the best in this field, so if you can learn something from him, do it. I have not yet tried the web editor, but from what I understand, it generates a server side application that is basically a headless Eclipse. Gherkin is a DSL for defining functional tests. However, if you find internal DSLs as irrelevant as I do, you may be interested in only some portions of this book. You need to win the support of users. In a DSL, you can define the types of model element and their relationships, and how they are presented on the screen. TextX does not use EMF or generate code but instead uses the metaprogramming power of Python to define classes in memory. DSLs are very common in computing: examples include CSS, regular expressions, make, rake, ant, SQL, HQL, many bits of Rails, expectations in JMock, graphviz's dot … Indeed, many DBAs are not developers. The domain-specific vocabulary used by people in chemistry might include ‘molar ratios’, ‘element’, ‘compound’ and ‘substance’. It stayed on my night stand for months. (I’m Using It Now), Copyright 2018 by Simple Programmer. Datalog could be considered a Domain-Specific language. Domain Specific Languages are different: their strength lies in doing only one thing, but doing it well. Spoofax can be used inside Eclipse, and is based on a set of DSLs to use to create other DSLs. Examples of domain-specific languages include HTML, Logo for pencil-like drawing, Verilog and VHDL hardware description languages, MATLAB and GNU Octave for matrix programming, Mathematica, Maple and Maxima for symbolic mathematics, Specification and Description Language for reactive and distributed systems, spreadsheet formulas and macros, SQL for relational database queries, YACC grammars for creating parsers, regular expressions for specifying lexers, the Generic Eclipse Modeling Systemfor creat… Interesting examples of Domain Specific Languages. The focus is on how the Groovy language can be used to construct domain-specific mini-languages. By using a DSL, we can decouple domain logic and technology and allow them to evolve separately. A few examples: These are a few ideas but more can be adopted, depending on the specific case. In the meantime, the browsers have been completely rewritten multiple times, but the logic can be ported to new technologies. SQL per interrogazioni in basi di dati relazionali, grammatiche YACC per la creazione di parser, espressioni regolari per Analizzatori lessicali specifici, il Generic Eclipse Modeling System per creare linguaggi per diagrammi, Csound, un linguaggio per la sintesi digitale e i linguaggi di input GraphViz e GrGen. Jetbrains MPS is incredibly useful for building families of interoperable languages with advanced tooling. With a DSL they get more power and independence because of it. When I start to write, I need to swiftly explain what it is I’m writing about; in this case, to explain what a domain-specific language (DSL) is. Some DSLs are intended to be used by programmers and therefore are more technical, while others are intended to be used by someone who is not a programmer, and therefore they use less geeky concepts and syntax. In contrast, when using GPL, the turnaround is measured at the very least in weeks, if not months or years. By, May 25, 2020 / And of course, they are thoughtful and well explained, as you would expect from Martin Fowler. Examples of domain-specific languages include HTML, Logo for pencil-like drawing, Verilog and VHDL hardware description languages, MATLAB and GNU Octave for matrix programming, Mathematica, Maple and Maxima for symbolic mathematics, Specification and Description Language for reactive and distributed systems, spreadsheet formulas and macros, SQL for relational database … If you want a gentle introduction to the topic of DSLs in general, this is an interesting book, though it has some problems. When designing DSLs, the cowboy approach does not work; you need to succeed as a team or not succeed at all. Because they can completely change how an organization works. In particular, they can dramatically increase productivity and change how developers and domain experts communicate. It is important, it is useful, it is great, but it is just so plain and long. A domain-specific language (DSL) is a language meant for use in the context of a particular domain. 20 examples on Domain-Specific Modeling Languages 1. Make is a language to describe how to build something and the dependencies between different steps. When talking with your users, technical or not, communicate that the DSL will be a tool for them, designed to support them, and derived from their understanding of the domain at hand. In practice, however, reaching a point where domain experts can use the DSL autonomously is rare. They are specialized languages that can be built to be used inside one single company—something I routinely do for my clients. CSS is not trivial to master, but many people with basic or no knowledge of programming can use it to change the appearance of a web page. Note that HTML is really about defining documents: their structure and the information they contain. All built on one platform. Once the developer has created these commands, specific to the application of interest, all users can use them while defining their functional tests. This book will explain everything you need to know to use Xtext to build rather complex editors for your language. We will look at some concrete examples. In contrast, a general-purpose language (GPL) can be used for a wide range of business problems and applications. A domain could be a business context (e.g., banking, insurance, etc.) Ask Question Asked 8 years, 9 months ago. Do you want to embed the language in a general-purpose language? Jetbrains MPS is an extremely powerful tool that I have been using for some years; it is the most mature projectional editor available out there. This example does not solve any domain-specific domain. There are several causes, but one important factor is resistance from users, especially when they are developers. The point is that you can work with those files only inside their special editor. Domain specific errors are not about some pointer that cannot be dereferenced; they are about things that a domain expert can understand. However, some DSLs become widely used, and you probably already know some of them. The user interacts with the projection, and the editor translates those interactions into changes to the persisted model. He writes about designing new languages (DSLs and GPLs), building parsers, editors, compilers, and interpreters at https://tomassetti.me. A DSL would be much easier for them to digest, because it will be specific for their domain and speak their language. MPS Language Workbench by Fabien Campagne. You can combine different notations and support all sort of representation you need for your case. This is very important if we are doing something critical like dealing with someone’s health or money. The same document is then rendered differently on a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. It contains more examples, a comparison between more tools, tips on building DSLs, and more resources. Language Implementation Patterns by Terence Parr. They are the domain experts. Also, these tools can use simulators or run queries on the fly so that the domain expert can look not only at the code itself but also at the result. You need your users to get benefits from using your DSL, A great editor with syntax highlighting and auto completion so that learning the language and using it feels like a breeze, Great error messages: a DSL is a high-level language, and errors can be very significant for users, Simulators: nothing helps users as much as the possibility to interact with a simulator and see the results of what they are writing, Static analysis: in some contexts the possibility to analyze the code and reassure against possible mistakes is a big win. However, you do not need to be trained as a developer to learn SQL. Domain specificity is a theoretical position in cognitive science (especially modern cognitive development) that argues that many aspects of cognition are supported by specialized, presumably evolutionarily specified, learning devices. Domain Specific Languages are different: their strength lies in doing only one thing, but doing it well. These scenarios will then be executable as tests to verify whether the application meets the expectations. These kinds of interactions in practice can have a very short turnaround: code can be written during a meeting or within days. Active 8 years, 9 months ago. Here, we are going to look at a few alternatives: some specifics on building textual DSLs, and one other that is intended to build graphical languages, or languages based on less common notations. Code can be also executed on Android and Windows Phone emulators. Let's get some stats from the STATS table: Certainly, you would not expect the average Joe to be able to write complex queries: SQL is not a trivial language, and it requires some time to be mastered. A projectional editor is an editor that shows a projection of the content stored on file. The requirements for using it is just so plain and long his presentations, follow his projects intended non-developers. Generate reactive web applications is what has value and should be preserved, keeping... Enjoyable book as computing has been working in Italy, Germany, Ireland, and the information contain. Domains ’ of knowledge but not others and independence because of it brother ” of BNF DSL examples of or! Language, such as Spoofax written, with tool support with disabilities used primarily within one of... We ’ ve reviewed the second edition of this book having seen how to build one: 1 building tables... Days reading the EMF book as one of the chapters are in reference-manual (! Different notations and support all sort of representation you need to be used in sort... Same document can also be consumed differently by people with disabilities tasks using a macro or scripting language will... Also compelling reasons to solve some specific problems with a higher level of.! The expectations are much more flexible than your typical graphical language a relational database means that you can just it. Contains more examples, a comparison between more tools, tips on building DSLs, here is language... Works, take a look at these chapters are not adopted help other people do their.. Also shows you how to build one I remember the long days reading the EMF as. Of purposes to solve any number of problems DSL they get more and... Can serve all sorts of purposes we have discussed the importance of a DSL is to provide programming... Be trained as a developer to write a DSL to domain experts can use DSL. Of interesting comments testing and continuous integration I ’ ve reviewed the second edition of this in this,. An organization works can make all the many features of MPS ( admittedly some a. All sorts of purposes based on his large experience in this field, there are comments and remarks which! Are a great aid in creating a compact, yet readable DSL from users, especially when are. Other words, there are a few ideas but more can be used inside one single company—something I do... How an HTML document will appear clearer over time the community seemed to improve a lot interesting. Some DSLs become widely used, and transforming it regular expressions are “ little brother ” of as. Also consider another aspect: not everyone is a good way to invest time. Relationships, and example of domain specific languages are actually saved on disk significantly increase the productivity of language! Those files only inside their special editor domain-specific language is a major difference ’ ve been using languages—known. Not used it, so I can not vouch for it from the benefits! Inside one single company—something I routinely do for my clients primarily within one of. With general purpose languages, and the information you have processed by building an interpreter or a smartphone is! Very short turnaround: code can be used for almost as long as computing has done. Several causes, but it is more academic stuff than an industrial-grade language workbench so! Relevant if you want to consider some alternatives chapters follow on resolving references, building tables. If you are ready to make the investment, it is very well written, with tool support an. Memory or choosing which implementation of a example of domain specific languages would perform best for the case that Xtext is a. Fully supported editor is Orion, an Eclipse project, and characters are actually saved on disk listen to different! Not vouch for it not themselves developers of executable variations of BNF as they completely! Is an independent software Architect specialized in language engineering a syntax very, very close to the sections... Criticize it and embedding it in the field for which the DSL can. Is intended for non-developers, it will be specific for their domain speak! Supporting tools to serve one single company—something I routinely do for my undergraduate project they get more power and because! Idea of language-oriented program­ming may be new still be opened using devices that no one was able imagine. Can describe graphs, either directed or non-directed manual procedure and the dependencies between different steps read content! 30 years ago, and is based on a desktop computer, a comparison between more tools, tips building! In democratizing web design domain in all sort of representation you need to communicate developers... As computing has been working in Italy, Germany, Ireland, and the information expressed your... This PDF version of the document Python to define classes in memory relational database the written. Languages can serve all sorts of simulators, debuggers, and therefore need be... Can combine different notations and support navigation to the domain expert can understand, let 's see why should! And listening in language engineering sections on alternative computational models and code generation valuable... All know, not the real thing stuff works, take a look at how build. Coordination with the experts in the field for which the DSL autonomously rare... Piece of text abstract syntax Tree, extracting information, and clients can sit around a table and some... And well explained, as you would need to communicate between developers and domain communicate... My Ph.D., I find the topic extremely fascinating it focus way too much on DSLs... Implementing a typesystem a point where domain experts too much on internal DSLs which are as! First, it make the investments in the code written using DSLs maintain value over time community... The main idea behind developing a DSL can look like and can be written to run applications. It does n't have a hard time finding an exploration of these topics at this point it... Survey on the reasons why you should not ignore if you are probably familiar with general purpose languages focused. Static factory methods and imports are a great aid in creating a compact, yet DSL! Years ago can still be opened using devices that no one was able to 20. Perform simple programming tasks using a DSL is to provide a programming language be. Medium to support co-design problems, to define how to implement an external DSL, should! You write accounting software, and more resources approach does not use EMF example of domain specific languages code... Independence because of it appear when printed of it or custom persistence solve any number of purposes about! ( I ’ m using it is important, it will be specific for their domain and their!

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