Friday, July 11, 2008

Domain Specific Languages and Software Factories

I put some thoughts about Domain Specific Languages (DSL) and UML in a post recently. But there is a broader scope to address DSL - it’s the promising and ongoing approach of Software Factories. The utilization of Software Factories is the wonderful dream to produce software systems like cars or industrial goods (which is a pretty simplified example). Anyway, in order to describe and specify the problem, it needs a language with semantics and syntax. There are examples for existing Domain Specific Languages, needed to solve these problems: SQL, Regular Expressions or HTML for instance. Based on a DSL, a standard development environment (like Eclipse) could be used to build a software factory. Sure, the tool must be customized, and it needs other components to have a Software Factory in place - templates, processes, patterns, frameworks, models (just to list a few of them). From the functional perspective, prototypes or main components of the domain encapsulating key mechanism and basic design elements are other essential parts. I don’t want to list all pro and cons of a Software Factory. Just as a final remark - software development is still a heuristic process containing a few deterministic steps. The utilization of Software Factories would increase the deterministic proportion (but would not make the heuristic part vanish completely which is good news for all folks writing code).

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