Written by Federico Tomassetti
in Research

    Nowadays each project is realised using a plethora of languages. Think about some classical scenarios:

    • A web application: Css, Javascript, Html and a general purpose language for server side elaborations (for example Java)
    • A Java framework using XML for configuration
    • SQL snippets embedded in a general purpose language

    In this scenarios different languages have to interact. The problem is that normally development tools are able to verify just intra-language consistency: it means that an IDE is able to understand if in your java code you are referring to a Java class that does not exist (maybe because you misspelled the name). IDEs are not able to verify inter-language consistency, so for example it does not know if the XML configuration file contains the name of an existing Java class or not. This is a problem of language integration.

    I think language workbenches permit to improve a lot language integration, with a limited effort.

    Still there is a lot to be done.

    Me, Antonio Vetrò, Marco Torchiano, Markus Völter and Bernd Kolb got a paper accepted at [email protected]’13 about this topic. In the paper we:

    • discuss about the problem of language integration in different scenarios,
    • refer to some previous work (from me, Vetrò and Torchiano) which starts an empirical evaluation of  the issue,
    • present a prototypal micro-implementation of a solution using Jetbrains MPS,
    • present a research agenda for language integration.

    Screenshots and more details are on the paper (available as PDF).

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