In recent years, Microsoft has asserted that there is special value in using a variety of Domain-Specific Languages, or DSLs, and has begun to include DSL tools in the Visual Studio tool kit. With built-in Visual Studio modeling tools, you can define DSLs and generate your own visual designers.
Getting a handle on DSLs can be a chore. Fortunately, a new book by Steve Cook and other members of the VSTS team is now available on the topic. Here we offer an excerpt from Domain-Specific Development with Visual Studio DSL Tools.
Chapter 1, An Introduction to Domain-Specific Development, the authors provide an overview, discussing the established notion of the general-purpose programming language and the emerging notion of Domain Specific Languages that are specifically formulated to deal with non-general problems.
As they write: "Domain-Specific Development is based on the observation that many software development problems can more easily be solved by designing a special-purpose language."
They further point to the .NET class for regular expressions, spreadsheets, WinForms Designer, and certain "Gang of Four" patterns as examples of the domain-specific approach.
Excerpted from Domain-Specific Development with Visual Studio DSL Tools (ISBN: 0321398203) by Steve Cook, Gareth Jones, Stuart Kent and Alan Cameron Willis. Published as part of the Microsoft .NET Development Series.
Copyright © 2007. Published by Addison-Wesley Professional, and available at your favorite book seller. Reprinted with permission.