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DSLs for building new software

by Paul Klint

Paul Klint

Most IT systems consist of closely interacting software components (applications/tools) that solve related problems in the same domain. Many components are based on the same domain elements.

In the banking domain this would include account, client, and interest rate. In the forensics domain file format and encryption would be prominent.

Building each software component from scratch will be expensive, error-prone and maintenance-intensive.

Using domain knowledge is the solution to these problems and it forms the centerpiece of the SWAT.engineering Methodology:

Diagram

The whole process starts with an initial idea for new software. Our first step is to explore the domain and make a map of all the relevant concepts and their relationships.

Next, we design a domain-specific language (DSL) that captures the domain knowledge and allows to flexibly express desired functionality such as creating a bank account or decrypting a file. Using this DSL, the functionality of the desired software components can be described concisely. These component descriptions are at a high level and can be understood and reviewed by experts from other disciplines such as marketing, finance, legal and auditing.

These high-level descriptions are used for simulation, visualisation, validation, and feedback on each component. When done, code can be generated that turns the high level description in operational code.

And there you have it: software components are no longer black boxes but can be easily reviewed and checked. Even better: your next software component will be much simpler to create.

Contact us at info@swat.engineering to discuss your specific situation.

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