OOPSLA'08 tutorial: Building Domain-Specific Languages for the Web

May 13, 2008

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Just got word that my proposal for an OOPSLA tutorial has been accepted. So make sure to register for it if you are planning to attend the conference.

Abstract: Implementing web applications in an object-oriented language such as Java using state-of-the-art frameworks produces robust software, but involves a lot of boilerplate code. Domain-specific languages (DSLs) increase the productivity of software engineers by replacing such low-level boilerplate code by high-level models, from which code can be generated. This tutorial shows how to find domain-specific abstractions based on patterns in existing (reference) programs and build domain-specific languages to capture these abstraction using several DSLs for DSL engineering: SDF for syntax definition and Stratego/XT for code generation. The approach is illustrated using the design and implementation of WebDSL, a domain-specific language for web applications, which provides abstractions for data models, page definitions, access control, workflow, and styling. The tutorial will show how code generation by model transformation is an important technique for separation of concerns in DSL implementations for designing a DSL as a tower of abstractions, rather than as a monolithic language.