Massimo Caliman
by Massimo Caliman
1 min read

Categories

  • Programming

Tags

  • DSL (Domain Specific Languages)

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

The concept has been revisited in modern times by Edsger W. Dijkstra, “A Discipline of Programming” (1976)

Due to my passion for various programming paradigms, I first became interested in DSLs back in 1999. A Domain Specific Language (DSL) is a programming language specialized for a particular application domain. This means that it has been designed to solve specific problems in a certain field, as opposed to a general-purpose programming language (GPL), which can be used across a wide range of domains.

There are many examples of DSLs, some of which are widely used and applied in various industries. For instance, HTML and SQL.

Using a DSL can bring many benefits. Firstly, it allows for clearer and more direct expression of problems and solutions, thanks to the use of domain-specific concepts and rules. Additionally, it can increase work efficiency, as not everything has to be done manually and some repetitive operations can be automated. Finally, using a DSL can improve the quality of the final product by reducing the number of errors and increasing the maintainability of the code.

I wrote my first DSL in 2000 to make a management system more flexible. The system was designed to manage payroll and, in particular, the overtime of employees in a company. I had written the management system in Java and used the Interpreter design pattern. Today, for tasks like this, we can use more advanced tools such as ANTLR(ANother Tool for Language Recognition).

Recently, two websites have become my go-to resources for information on DSLs: tomassetti.me and strumenta.com. These sites offer a wealth of information on the subject, including articles, tutorials, and other resources. I highly recommend checking them out if you’re interested in learning more about DSLs.