Dsls the good the bad and the ugly
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DSLs: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly . Kathleen Fisher AT&T L a bs Research. Background. Data Warehouse. Hancock DSL for constructing customer „signatures” from transaction streams. Facilitated efficient, high-level programs. Used in production for > 8 years

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DSLs: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Dsls the good the bad and the ugly

DSLs: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Kathleen Fisher

AT&T Labs Research


Background

Background

Data

Warehouse

  • Hancock

    • DSL for constructing customer „signatures” from transaction streams.

    • Facilitated efficient, high-level programs.

    • Used in production for > 8 years

  • PADS

    • Declarative DSL for describing ad hoc data.

    • Generate in-memory representation, parser, printer, XML conversion tools, statistical analyses...

    • Used at AT&T to vet and load data into databases.

Transaction Data

Hancock

Signature

Database

207.136.97.49 - - [15/Oct/2006:18:46:51 -0700] "GET /turkey/amnty1.gif HTTP/1.0" 200 3013


The good

The Good

  • Targeted abstractions mean DSL programs express important information & hide details.

    • “You can really see what we’re talking about”

    • Programs are shorter: easier to audit, maintain.

    • PADS descriptions serve as living documentation.

  • From declarative specifications, we can generate multiple artifacts:

    • parser, printer, XML translation, statistical analyses,...

  • Compiler can ensure properties of programs:

    • Parser will return meta-data that describes errors.


The bad and the ugly

The Bad and The Ugly

  • Challenge of routine features

    • Include in DSL: replicate a lot of effort!

    • Borrow from ‘host’ language: have to process host language code.

  • Lack of tools

    • DSLs often lack debuggers, profilers, IDE support, etc., because building them is labor intensive.

  • Reluctant customers

    • Learning new languages is hard!


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