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|Title: ||Diagrammatic Representations in Domain-Specific Languages|
|Authors: ||Tourlas, Konstantinos|
|Supervisor(s): ||Anderson, Stuart|
|Issue Date: ||Jul-2002|
|Publisher: ||University of Edinburgh. College of Science and Engineering. School of Informatics.|
|Abstract: ||One emerging approach to reducing the labour and costs of software development
favours the specialisation of techniques to particular application domains.
The rationale is that programs within a given domain often share enough common
features and assumptions to enable the incorporation of substantial support
mechanisms into domain-specific programming languages and associated tools.
Instead of being machine-oriented, algorithmic implementations, programs in
many domain-specific languages (DSLs) are rather user-level, problem-oriented
specifications of solutions. Taken further, this view suggests that the most appropriate
representation of programs in many domains is diagrammatic, in a way
which derives from existing design notations in the domain.
This thesis conducts an investigation, using mathematical techniques and supported
by case studies, of issues arising from the use of diagrammatic representations
in DSLs. Its structure is conceptually divided into two parts: the first is
concerned with semantic and reasoning issues; the second introduces an approach
to describing the syntax and layout of diagrams, in a way which addresses some
pragmatic aspects of their use.
The empirical context of our work is that of IEC 1131-3, an industry standard
programming language for embedded control systems. The diagrammatic syntax
of IEC 1131-3 consists of circuit (i.e. box-and-wire) diagrams, emphasising a data-
flow view, and variants of Petri net diagrams, suited to a control-flow view.
The first contribution of the thesis is the formalisation of the diagrammatic
syntax and the semantics of IEC 1131-3 languages, as a prerequisite to the application
of algebraic techniques. More generally, we outline an approach to the
design of diagrammatic DSLs, emphasising compositionality in the semantics of
the language so as to allow the development of simple proof systems for inferring
properties which are deemed essential in the domain. The control-flow subset
of IEC 1131-3 is carefully evaluated, and is subsequently re-designed, to yield a
straightforward proof system for a restricted, yet commonly occurring, class of
A substantial part of the thesis deals with DSLs in which programs may be
represented both textually and diagrammatically, as indeed is the case with IEC
1131-3. We develop a formalisation of the data-flow diagrams in IEC 1131-3|
|Appears in Collections:||Informatics thesis and dissertation collection|
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