Domain Specific Languages

Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) have been around for as long as there has been computing, but it is critical to use them. DSLs are tiny languages that focus on a specific software system component. One cannot use a DSL to write an entire program, but it is common to use multiple DSLs in a system written primarily in a general-purpose language.

DSLs are classified into two types: external and internal. An external DSL is a language that may parse independently of the host’s general-purpose language: regular expressions and CSS are suitable examples. External DSLs have a long history in the Unix world. Internal DSLs are an API in a host general-purpose language, sometimes a fluent interface.

What can you do with DSLs?

A DSL is commonly used to generate computer code or other artifacts. You can construct text templates that read a DSL model and create text files when you specify your DSL. For example, you can create a template to take an airport plan and build a portion of the baggage handling software, along with parts of the user papers to describe the method.

After you’ve defined a DSL, you may make it available to other users so they can install it on their PCs. Models can be created and edited in Visual Studio by DSL users.

Graphical Domain-Specific Development Aspects

The following characteristics must be a part of this graphical domain-specific language:

  1. Notation
  2. The domain model
  3. Creation of artifacts
  4. Serialization
  5. Visual Studio integration

The Advantages of Domain-Specific Development

A domain-specific language can offer the following advantages:

  • Allows non-developers and those unfamiliar with the domain to understand the overall concept.
  • You can use a graphical domain-specific language to build a visual representation of the domain so that non-developers can readily grasp the application’s design.
  • A domain-specific language, as opposed to general-purpose languages, is made up of elements and connections that explicitly describe the logic of the problem space.
  • It makes creating a prototype of the final application easier.
  • Developers can utilize the code generated by their model to develop a prototype application to display to clients.
  • It contains constructs that are ideally suited to the problem space.

How can one design Domain-Specific Languages?

  • JetBrains MPS is one such tool for designing domain-specific languages.
  • Xtext is a free and open software platform for creating programming languages and domain-specific languages (DSLs).
  • Racket is a cross-platform language toolchain that includes a native code compiler, a JIT compiler, a JavaScript compiler, etc.



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