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Conference on Domain-Specific Languages, 1997

Experience with a Domain Specific Language for Form-based Services

David Atkins, Thomas Ball, Michael Benedikt, Glenn Bruns, Kenneth Cox, Peter Mataga, and Kenneth Rehor
Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies


A form-based service is one in which the flow of data between service and user is described by a sequence of query/response interactions, or forms. A form provides a user interface that presents service data to the user, collects information from a user and returns it to the service.

Mawl is a domain-specific language for programming form-based services in a device-independent manner. We describe our experience with mawl's form abstraction, which is the means for separating application logic and user interface description, and show how this simple abstraction addresses six issues in service creation, analysis, and maintenance: compile-time guarantees, implementation flexibility, rapid prototyping, support for multiple devices, composition of services, and usage analysis.

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