MetaBorg in Action: Examples of Domain-Specific Language Embedding and Assimilation Using Stratego/XT

Martin Bravenboer, René de Groot, Eelco Visser. MetaBorg in Action: Examples of Domain-Specific Language Embedding and Assimilation Using Stratego/XT. In Ralf Lämmel, João Saraiva, Joost Visser, editors, Generative and Transformational Techniques in Software Engineering, International Summer School, GTTSE 2005, Braga, Portugal, July 4-8, 2005. Revised Papers. Volume 4143 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 297-311, Springer, 2006. [doi]


General-purpose programming languages provide limited facilities for expressing domain-specific concepts in a natural manner. All domain concepts need to be captured using the same generic syntactic and semantic constructs. Generative programming methods and program transformation techniques can be used to overcome this lack of abstraction in general-purpose languages.

In this tutorial we describe the MetaBorg method for embedding domain-specific languages, tailored syntactically and semantically to the application domain at hand, in a general-purpose language. MetaBorg is based on Stratego/XT, a language and toolset for the implementation of program transformation systems, which is used for the definition of syntactic embeddings and assimilation of the embedded constructs into the surrounding code.

We illustrate MetaBorg with three examples. JavaSwul is a custom designed language for implementing graphical user-interfaces, which provides high-level abstractions for component composition and event-handling. JavaRegex is a new embedding of regular expression matching and string rewriting. JavaJava is an embedding of Java in Java for generating Java code. For these cases we show how Java programs in these domains become dramatically more readable, and we give an impression of the implementation of the language embeddings.