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DSLs, XML, and Fluent Interfaces

Ayende writes about the right time for a DSL.

Concerning XML vs. DSL:

If you need to do things externally, a DSL is the place to look for. In fact, if you feel the urge to put XML into place, as anything except strict data storage mechanism, that is a place to go with a DSL.

DSL vs. Fluent Interface:

Fluent Interfaces relies heavily on intellisense in order to create that fluent feeling. If you need to work on it outside the IDE, that is probably going to be a factor.

Extensibility is also a concern; let us go back to the scheduling sample. We have the scheduling engine, and we have the tasks themselves. Consider that to write a task using a DSL I usually have to write a small text file, but to write a task using a Fluent Interface requires creating a project, compiling, etc.

I totally agree with Ayende. A DSL is the perfect means for supporting external aspects of a software development project, especially when non-programmers are involved.

Posted by Hartmut Wilms at 09:59