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Domain-Specific Languages (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Fowler)) 1st Edition

4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321712943
ISBN-10: 0321712943
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Designed as a wide-ranging guide to Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) and how to approach building them, this book covers a variety of different techniques available for DSLs. The goal is to provide readers with enough information to make an informed choice about whether or not to use a DSL and what kinds of DSL techniques to employ. Part I is a 150-page narrative overview that gives you a broad understanding of general principles. The reference material in Parts II through VI provides the details and examples you will need to get started using the various techniques discussed. Both internal and external DSL topics are covered, in addition to alternative computational models and code generation. Although the general principles and patterns presented can be used with whatever programming language you happen to be using, most of the examples are in Java or C#.

About the Author

Martin Fowler is Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks. He describes himself as “an author, speaker, consultant, and general loudmouth on software development. I concentrate on designing enterprise software—looking at what makes a good design and what practices are needed to come up with good design.” Fowler’s books include Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture; UML Distilled, Third Edition; and (with Kent Beck, John Brant, and William Opdyke) Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code. All are published by Addison-Wesley.
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Product Details

  • Series: Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Fowler)
  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (October 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321712943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321712943
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As usual, Fowler delivers a very well structured book, easy to both read and use as reference material. He is a very able and pragmatic writer and that shows in this book.

However, I can't consider this book a good text because of the things it omits. This is a book about designing DSLs and this task is one of the things functional languages excel at, but Fowler establishes in the introduction that he is going to happily ignore all things related to functional programming and never looks back. Anyone interested in designing DSLs owes it to himself to research Haskell, Scala and F# as they are vastly superior to Java in this respect.

Fowler has been one of the best at writing about OO design and approaches this book in the same way, sadly he hasn't upgraded his knowledge to include other paradigms that in this case address the problem at hand better.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As an occasional user of lexx/yacc and a frequent developer of rules engines - this book filled in many gaps and answered many whys. My next rule engine will make use of a DSL utilizing many of the patterns described.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I no longer write programs, I help people design systems, through sensible design and architecture, but I have never forgotten my assembler roots. The author has produced an important book, as significant as when he created the refactoring book and analysis patterns, and for the same reason.
Fowler took concepts that good professionals understand almost implicitly by working through these difficult ideas and places them in context that can be used as a communication tool. He has put a name and a face to a set of memes.
Fowlers critical examination of the importance of the semantic model and the way it needs to be constructed apart from syntax, the separation of the state machine model, and the illustrative programming ideas as exemplified by spreadsheets, provide PERSPECTIVE that is so sorely needed. He links these concepts together in a way that is vital for architects and programmers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This excellent information in the book is locked behind a lazy kindle conversion. References within the book are not hyper-lined, and, much worse, reference page numbers of the physical edition instead of kindle "locations," making them extra useless. All for a price approaching the physical edition.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reasonably good but doesn't address request processing questions I have
Most fowler books are worthy if a read.
But this one just misses what I want to know
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book uses mostly incomplete code samples in three languages (Java, Ruby, C#) as if a reader knows these languages well enough to fill in the many gaps. Virtually all topics are sketchily covered, all definitions are vague, and the prose is generally verbose and undisciplined. If a reader is expecting to read this book to learn enough to be able to write a small interpreter, for instance, he should look elsewhere. The book would have been much less annoying and much more useful if it used a single language, covered topics like tokenization and parsing in enough detail to handle practical difficulties and provided complete, compilable code samples. I am sure there are programmers who may find it useful, but I think they would be professionals with considerable experience who are just looking for a high-level sketchy description of DSL and who will be able to turn such descriptions into actual programs on their own. If the author were to turn this book in as a Master's thesis in a Computer Science Department, he should be handed an F.
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Format: Hardcover
Fowler wrote a beautiful, humorous and accessible introduction to the extremely rich field of domain specific languages. I could immediately put the knowledge into quite impressive action on a little project. Thank you for that.

After a general introduction in the first part (143 pages) more detailed knowledge can be found in another five parts. Those parts are written in a pattern style. This leads to advantages for systematic comparison and reference type usage. Actually reading through the quite heavy book from cover to cover lets one suffer a little from the high amount of redundancy.

I do like the deep thinking and clear style of Martin Fowler. Fowler has an independent and great mind: Fowler does not hesitate to make style recommendations for DSLs that are opposite to a good style within a normal programming language.

The examples are easily accessible. The languages are mostly Java, C# and Ruby.

I do highly recommend this thorough introduction to a very different approach to programming.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Kindle edition seems okay to me: hyperlinks work, there's a good table of contents, and the diagrams and code samples render fine. You cannot copy and paste code from the Kindle version - by design. Style is a occasionally self-conscious and discursive, you know - the regular grey-haired guru affectation. It's long, but not exactly terse or concise. But there are some rich veins of tremendously precious material in this book. It's accessible too. I am getting a lot of value from it without a comp sci background. A bargain.
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