Challenges and Opportunities of Modularizing Textual Domain-Specific Languages
Rieger Christoph, Westerkamp Martin, Kuchen Herbert
Over time, domain-specific languages (DSL) tend to grow beyond the initial scope in order to provide new features. In addition, many fundamental language concepts are reimplemented over and over again. This raises questions regarding opportunities of DSL modularization for improving software quality and fostering language reuse - similar to challenges traditional programming languages face but further complicated by the surrounding editing infrastructure and model transformations. Mature frameworks for developing textual DSLs such as Xtext provide a wealth of features but have only recently considered support for language composition. We therefore perform a case study on a large-scale DSL for model-driven development of mobile applications called MD², and review the current state of DSL composition techniques. Subsequently, challenges and advantages of modularizing MD² are discussed and generalized recommendations are provided.