[plt-scheme] DSLs: anyone want a good cry?

From: John Clements (clements at brinckerhoff.org)
Date: Thu Mar 19 19:15:19 EDT 2009

I just looked over a fairly comprehensive summary of Domain-Specific  
Language research (Mernik et al., 2005), which manages to totally  
overlook the crown jewel of Scheme, syntactic extension.  Here's a  
paragraph from their concluding summary:

Embedding. GPLs should provide more
powerful support for embedding DSLs,
both syntactically and semantically. Some
issues are:

—Embedding suffers from the very limited
user-definable syntax offered by GPLs.
Perhaps surprisingly, there has been
no trend toward more powerful userdefinable
syntax in GPLs over the years.
In fact, just the opposite has happened.
Macros and user-definable operators
have become less popular. Java has no
user-definable operators at all. On the
other hand, some of the language development
systems in Table XVI, such as
ASF+SDF and to some extent Stratego,
support metalanguages featuring fully
general user-definable context-free
syntax. Although these metalanguages
cannot compete directly with GPLs
as embedding hosts as far as expressiveness
and efficiency are concerned,
they can be used to express a sourceto-
source transformation to translate
user-defined DSL syntax embedded in
a GPL to appropriate API calls. See
Bravenboer and Visser [2004] for an
extensive discussion of this approach.

Sorry, had to share.


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