Thursday, September 15, 2005
Jochen Seemann presented a session on Visual Studio for Software Architects Future Directions in Modeling Tools to about 2000 people at PDC today.  This presentation covered topics of Domain Specific Languages (DSL), Software Factories and Visual Languages.  All of which I am interested in for advancing the industrialization of software.
Jochen put into context what a DSL meant by comparing it to an electronics circuit diagram.  In the electronics domain, this circuit diagram has specific meaning, but outside of that domain, it has no meaning whatsoever.  Hence the term, domain specific.  Continuing with the circuit diagram analogy, the language that is used, such as resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc. is specific to that domain.  Hence the term DSL.
He also compared DSL to UML where his view was that UML is a broad language for Object Oriented software engineering.  Sure you can customize UML to a large degree, but the problem is trying to use UML to describe something specific enough for a particular domain.  For example, he used the analogy of using use cases (text based) to describe the layout of the auditorium we were in and giving a 50 page use case document to construction workers to build the auditorium.  Using natural language (i.e. English) has a major problem with semantics.  That is, every person could read the use cases, including the construction workers, to build the auditorium and come up with different meaning as to what the words meant and therefore a different auditorium build out.  Hence the problem of