Domain-Specific Languages

Domain-Specific Languages

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When carefully selected and used, Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) may simplify complex code, promote effective communication with customers, improve productivity, and unclog development bottlenecks. In Domain-Specific Languages, noted software development expert Martin Fowler first provides the information software professionals need to decide if and when to utilize DSLs. Then, where DSLs prove suitable, Fowler presents effective techniques for building them, and guides software engineers in choosing the right approaches for their applications.
This book's techniques may be utilized with most modern object-oriented languages; the author provides numerous examples in Java and C#, as well as selected examples in Ruby. Wherever possible, chapters are organized to be self-standing, and most reference topics are presented in a familiar patterns format.

Armed with this wide-ranging book, developers will have the knowledge they need to make important decisions about DSLs-and, where appropriate, gain the significant technical and business benefits they offer.

The topics covered include:

* How DSLs compare to frameworks and libraries, and when those alternatives are sufficient

* Using parsers and parser generators, and parsing external DSLs

* Understanding, comparing, and choosing DSL language constructs

* Determining whether to use code generation, and comparing code generation strategies

* Previewing new language workbench tools for creating DSLs
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Pearson Programming and Web Development

Product details

  • Hardback | 640 pages
  • 185 x 231 x 37mm | 1,154g
  • Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • w. figs.
  • 0321712943
  • 9780321712943
  • 166,283

Back cover copy

Designed as a wide-ranging guide to Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) and how to approach building them, this book covers a variety of different techniques available for DSLs. The goal is to provide readers with enough information to make an informed choice about whether or not to use a DSL and what kinds of DSL techniques to employ. Part I is a 150-page narrative overview that gives you a broad understanding of general principles. The reference material in Parts II through VI provides the details and examples you will need to get started using the various techniques discussed. Both internal and external DSL topics are covered, in addition to alternative computational models and code generation. Although the general principles and patterns presented can be used with whatever programming language you happen to be using, most of the examples are in Java or C#.
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Table of contents

Preface xix

Part I: Narratives 1

Chapter 1: An Introductory Example 3

Gothic Security 3

The State Machine Model 5

Programming Miss Grant's Controller 9

Languages and Semantic Model 16

Using Code Generation 19

Using Language Workbenches 22

Visualization 24

Chapter 2: Using Domain-Specific Languages 27

Defining Domain-Specific Languages 27

Why Use a DSL? 33

Problems with DSLs 36

Wider Language Processing 39

DSL Lifecycle 40

What Makes a Good DSL Design? 42

Chapter 3: Implementing DSLs 43

Architecture of DSL Processing 43

The Workings of a Parser 47

Grammars, Syntax, and Semantics 49

Parsing Data 50

Macros 52

Chapter 4: Implementing an Internal DSL 67

Fluent and Command-Query APIs 68

The Need for a Parsing Layer 71

Using Functions 72

Literal Collections 77

Using Grammars to Choose Internal Elements 79

Closures 80

Parse Tree Manipulation 82

Annotation 84

Literal Extension 85

Reducing the Syntactic Noise 85

Dynamic Reception 86

Providing Some Type Checking 87

Chapter 5: Implementing an External DSL 89

Syntactic Analysis Strategy 89

Output Production Strategy 92

Parsing Concepts 94

Mixing-in Another Language 100

XML DSLs 101

Chapter 6: Choosing between Internal and External DSLs 105

Learning Curve 105

Cost of Building 106

Programmer Familiarity 107

Communication with Domain Experts 108

Mixing In the Host Language 108

Strong Expressiveness Boundary 109

Runtime Configuration 110

Sliding into Generality 110

Composing DSLs 111

Summing Up 111

Chapter 7: Alternative Computational Models 113

A Few Alternative Models 116

Chapter 8: Code Generation 121

Choosing What to Generate 122

How to Generate 124

Mixing Generated and Handwritten Code 126

Generating Readable Code 127

Preparse Code Generation 128

Further Reading 128

Chapter 9: Language Workbenches 129

Elements of Language Workbenches 130

Schema Definition Languages and Meta-Models 131

Source and Projectional Editing 136

Illustrative Programming 138

Tools Tour 140

Language Workbenches and CASE tools 141

Should You Use a Language Workbench? 142

Part II: Common Topics 145

Chapter 10: A Zoo of DSLs 147

Graphviz 147

JMock 149

CSS 150

Hibernate Query Language (HQL) 151

XAML 152

FIT 155

Make et al. 156

Chapter 11: Semantic Model 159

How It Works 159

When to Use It 162

The Introductory Example (Java) 163

Chapter 12: Symbol Table 165

How It Works 166

When to Use It 168

Further Reading 168

Dependency Network in an External DSL (Java and ANTLR) 168

Using Symbolic Keys in an Internal DSL (Ruby) 170

Using Enums for Statically Typed Symbols (Java) 172

Chapter 13: Context Variable 175

How It Works 175

When to Use It 176

Reading an INI File (C#) 176

Chapter 14: Construction Builder 179

How It Works 179

When to Use It 180

Building Simple Flight Data (C#) 180

Chapter 15: Macro 183

How It Works 184

When to Use It 192

Chapter 16: Notification 193

How It Works 194

When to Use It 194

A Very Simple Notification (C#) 194

Parsing Notification (Java) 195

Part III: External DSL Topics 199

Chapter 17: Delimiter-Directed Translation 201

How It Works 201

When to Use It 204

Frequent Customer Points (C#) 205

Parsing Nonautonomous Statements with Miss Grant's Controller (Java) 211

Chapter 18: Syntax-Directed Translation 219

How It Works 220

When to Use It 227

Further Reading 227

Chapter 19: BNF 229

How It Works 229

When to Use It 238

Chapter 20: Regex Table Lexer (by Rebecca Parsons) 239

How It Works 240

When to Use It 241

Lexing Miss Grant's Controller (Java) 241

Chapter 21: Recursive Descent Parser (by Rebecca Parsons) 245

How It Works 246

When to Use It 249

Further Reading 249

Recursive Descent and Miss Grant's Controller (Java) 250

Chapter 22: Parser Combinator (by Rebecca Parsons) 255

How It Works 256

When to Use It 261

Parser Combinators and Miss Grant's Controller (Java) 261

Chapter 23: Parser Generator 269

How It Works 269

When to Use It 272

Hello World (Java and ANTLR) 272

Chapter 24: Tree Construction 281

How It Works 281

When to Use It 284

Using ANTLR's Tree Construction Syntax (Java and ANTLR) 284

Tree Construction Using Code Actions (Java and ANTLR) 292

Chapter 25: Embedded Translation 299

How It Works 299

When to Use It 300

Miss Grant's Controller (Java and ANTLR) 300

Chapter 26: Embedded Interpretation 305

How It Works 305

When to Use It 306

A Calculator (ANTLR and Java) 306

Chapter 27: Foreign Code 309

How It Works 309

When to Use It 311

Embedding Dynamic Code (ANTLR, Java, and Javascript) 311

Chapter 28: Alternative Tokenization 319

How It Works 319

When to Use It 326

Chapter 29: Nested Operator Expression 327

How It Works 327

When to Use It 331

Chapter 30: Newline Separators 333

How It Works 333

When to Use It 335

Chapter 31: External DSL Miscellany 337

Syntactic Indentation 337

Modular Grammars 339

Part IV: Internal DSL Topics 341

Chapter 32: Expression Builder 343

How It Works 344

When to Use It 344

A Fluent Calendar with and without a Builder (Java) 345

Using Multiple Builders for the Calendar (Java) 348

Chapter 33: Function Sequence 351

How It Works 351

When to Use It 352

Simple Computer Configuration (Java) 352

Chapter 34: Nested Function 357

How It Works 357

When to Use It 359

The Simple Computer Configuration Example (Java) 360

Handling Multiple Different Arguments with Tokens (C#) 361

Using Subtype Tokens for IDE Support (Java) 363

Using Object Initializers (C#) 365

Recurring Events (C#) 366

Chapter 35: Method Chaining 373

How It Works 373

When to Use It 377

The Simple Computer Configuration Example (Java) 378

Chaining with Properties (C#) 381

Progressive Interfaces (C#) 382

Chapter 36: Object Scoping 385

How It Works 386

When to Use It 386

Security Codes (C#) 387

Using Instance Evaluation (Ruby) 392

Using an Instance Initializer (Java) 394

Chapter 37: Closure 397

How It Works 397

When to Use It 402

Chapter 38: Nested Closure 403

How It Works 403

When to Use It 405

Wrapping a Function Sequence in a Nested Closure (Ruby) 405

Simple C# Example (C#) 408

Using Method Chaining (Ruby) 409

Function Sequence with Explicit Closure Arguments (Ruby 411

Using Instance Evaluation (Ruby) 412

Chapter 39: Literal List 417

How It Works 417

When to Use It 417

Chapter 40: Literal Map 419

How It Works 419

When to Use It 420

The Computer Configuration Using Lists and Maps (Ruby) 420

Evolving to Greenspun Form (Ruby) 422

Chapter 41: Dynamic Reception 427

How It Works 428

When to Use It 429

Promotion Points Using Parsed Method Names (Ruby) 430

Promotion Points Using Chaining (Ruby) 434

Removing Quoting in the Secret Panel Controller (JRuby) 438

Chapter 42: Annotation 445

How It Works 446

When to Use It 449

Custom Syntax with Runtime Processing (Java) 449

Using a Class Method (Ruby) 451

Dynamic Code Generation (Ruby) 452

Chapter 43: Parse Tree Manipulation 455

How It Works 455

When to Use It 456

Generating IMAP Queries from C# Conditions (C#) 457

Chapter 44: Class Symbol Table 467

How It Works 468

When to Use It 469

Statically Typed Class Symbol Table (Java) 469

Chapter 45: Textual Polishing 477

How It Works 477

When to Use It 478

Polished Discount Rules (Ruby) 478

Chapter 46: Literal Extension 481

How It Works 481

When to Use It 482

Recipe Ingredients (C#) 483

Part V: Alternative Computational Models 485

Chapter 47: Adaptive Model 487

How It Works 488

When to Use It 492

Chapter 48: Decision Table 495

How It Works 495

When to Use It 497

Calculating the Fee for an Order (C#) 497

Chapter 49: Dependency Network 505

How It Works 506

When to Use It 508

Analyzing Potions (C#) 508

Chapter 50: Production Rule System 513

How It Works 514

When to Use It 517

Validations for club membership (C#) 517

Eligibility Rules: extending the club membership (C#) 521

Chapter 51: State Machine 527

How It Works 527

When to Use It 529

Secret Panel Controller (Java) 530

Part VI: Code Generation 531

Chapter 52: Transformer Generation 533

How It Works 533

When to Use It 535

Secret Panel Controller (Java generating C) 535

Chapter 53: Templated Generation 539

How It Works 539

When to Use It 541

Generating the Secret Panel State Machine with Nested Conditionals (Velocity and Java generating C) 541

Chapter 54: Embedment Helper 547

How It Works 548

When to Use It 549

Secret Panel States (Java and ANTLR) 549

Should a Helper Generate HTML? (Java and Velocity) 552

Chapter 55: Model-Aware Generation 555

How It Works 556

When to Use It 556

Secret Panel State Machine (C) 557

Loading the State Machine Dynamically (C) 564

Chapter 56: Model Ignorant Generation 567

How It Works 567

When to Use It 568

Secret Panel State Machine as Nested Conditionals (C) 568

Chapter 57: Generation Gap 571

How It Works 571

When to Use It 573

Generating Classes from a Data Schema (Java and a Little Ruby) 573

Bibliography 579

Index 581
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About Martin Fowler

Martin Fowler is Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks. He describes himself as "an author, speaker, consultant, and general loudmouth on software development. I concentrate on designing enterprise software-looking at what makes a good design and what practices are needed to come up with good design." Fowler's books include Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture; UML Distilled, Third Edition; and (with Kent Beck, John Brant, and William Opdyke) Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code. All are published by Addison-Wesley.
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