Building Blocks for Language Workbenches

Lennart C. L. Kats. Building Blocks for Language Workbenches. PhD thesis, Delft University of Technology, 2011.


This dissertation presents research on techniques, methods, and tool support for domain-specific language engineering. Domain-specific language engineering is the discipline of designing, developing, and maintaining domain-specific programming languages. The focus of this thesis is the architecture of language workbenches their underlying technologies. Language workbenches are tools that make language engineering more efficient by providing an integrated development environment for language engineering tasks. In particular, we introduce the Spoofax language workbench, and describe its techniques for high-level, portable language definitions, language composition, interactive support for defining languages, and language testing.

Our research focuses on three main themes: applying domain-specific languages for declarative specification of languages and IDEs; supporting declarative syntax definition for generating a parser-based, interactive development environment; and providing interactive meta-tooling support, exploring the application of modern IDE technology to DSL engineering.