Domain Specific Languages - A Slice Of The Future

By Anoop Madhusudanan

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The DSL (Domain Specific Language) toolkit shipped with Visual Studio SDK opened up a hand full of new possibilities for enterprises focusing on the Microsoft platforms. This enables organizations to harness the power of Domain Specific Modeling, to solve specific problems.

Domain Specific Modeling (DSM) involves systematic use of a graphical Domain-specific language (DSL) to represent the various facets of a system. Later, artifacts can be generated from the model, using domain aware generators.

The DSL approach has various advantages. Here are few - mainly from an Architect’s point of view.

Improves Standardization and maintainability

Using Domain Aware Generators to generate artifacts (like source code and functionality documents) from the Domain Model modeled using DSL brings high standardization and maintainability for the entire code base. This saves the enterprise from problems like code decay and logic scattering.

Enables Collaboration of Teams

Domain Specific Language modeling complements the efforts of the enterprise to unify various operations - independent of languages and technologies. For example, the Business Analysis team may use DSL to model the prototypes and flows – Development team may add validation constraints, definitions, and platform specific details to this model. And testing team can use the same model to define test cases.

Provides a Standardized, Integrated Work bench

The DSL approach for Domain Specific Modeling will enable the organization to provide visual designers and related tools to cater the needs of various teams - including business analysts, developers, and testers - to automate common tasks through the Visual Studio IDE, by taking all the advantages of the Visual Studio Team System.

Business Model Is Centralized

In traditional approach, the captured domain logic is documented and implemented in a very inconsistent manner, and is often available only in the form of source code. The DSL approach enables the organization to rapidly generate, configure, assemble and deploy solutions based on a centralized business model. This results in reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) without compensating on scaling up the productivity and innovation. This also provides an excellent way to preserve and reuse domain knowledge.

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