Domain-specific Languages(DSLs)

February 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Domain-specific languages (DSLs) are basically programming languages. But they are specifically targeted/tailored towards particular problem domains. Hence, it implies to the fact that DSLs are narrow in applicably unlike General-purpose programming languages(GPLs)[1]; hence, DSL precisely abstracts the domain and its semantics.  At the same time, being specific to a particular problem domains make it hard to reuse and adapt to a new problem domains or to the same evolving domain with new set of requirements.

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Figure 1:  DSLs are bridging the semantic gaps.

“Only way to manage complexity is to bring order to chaos”

Complex software systems consist of several concerns such as, performance, reliability , fault-tolerance, persistency. Hence, domain specialization is required to capture these concerns precisely and to perform various analyses specific to the domain. DSLs , thus reduce the complexity of complex systems  by providing high level linguistic abstraction through succinct syntax and by isolating concerns from one another which additionally results in highly cohesive sub-systems.  Following figure illustrate the fact that DSLs covers various concerns of complex software systems vertically rather than horizontally.


Figure 2 :  Vertical domain specialization of DSLs in a complex system.

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