Delft University of Technology: WebDSL - a Case Study in Domain-Specific Language Engineering
The goal of domain-specific languages (DSLs) is to increase the productivity of software engineers by abstracting from low-level boilerplate code. Introduction of DSLs in the software development process requires a smooth workflow for the production of DSLs themselves. This requires technology for designing and implementing DSLs, but also a methodology for using that technology. That is, a collection of guidelines, design patterns, and reusable DSL components that show developers how to tackle common language design and implementation issues. This paper presents a case study in domain-specific language engineering. It reports on a project in which the author designed and built WebDSL, a DSL for web applications with a rich data model, using several DSLs for DSL engineering: SDF for syntax definition and Stratego/XT for code generation. The paper follows the stages in the development of the DSL.
The contributions of the paper are three-fold:
(1) A tutorial in the application of the specific SDF and Stratego/XT technology for building DSLs.
(2) A description of an incremental DSL development process.
(3) A domain specific language for web-applications with rich data models. The paper concludes with a survey of related approaches.