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On the Impact of DSL Tools on the Maintainability of Language Implementations

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Executive Summary

Does the use of DSL tools improve the maintainability of language implementations compared to implementations from scratch? The authors present empirical results on aspects of maintainability of six implementations of the same DSL using different languages (Java, JavaScript, C#) and DSL tools (ANTLR, OMeta, Microsoft "M"). Their evaluation indicates that the maintainability of language implementations is indeed higher when constructed using DSL tools. Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) promise an increase in productivity, maintainability and reliability by providing notations tailored to certain problem domains. Solutions can be described at a higher level of abstraction, thus narrowing the gap between problem domain an solution domain.

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