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Conference on Domain-Specific Languages, 1997

Domain Specific Languages for ad hoc Distributed Applications

Matthew Fuchs
Walt Disney Imagineering


The Internet provides a medium to combine human and computational entities together for ad hoc cooperative transactions. To make this possible, there must be a framework allowing all parties (human or other) to communicate with each other. The current framework makes a fundamental distinction between human agents (who use HTML) and computational agents, which use CORBA or COM. We propose DSLs as a means to allow all kinds of agents to ``speak the same language.'' In particular we adopt some ideas (and syntax) from SGML/XML, especially the strict separation of syntax and semantics, so each agent in a collaboration is capable of applying a behavioral semantics appropriate to its role (buyer, seller, editor). We develop the example of a card game, where the syntax of the language itself implies some of the semantics of the game.
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