Domain Specific Language (DSL) is a new term defined as “a computer programming language of limited expressiveness focused on a particular domain” (Fowler 2013). In particular, they can dramatically increase productivity and change how developers and domain experts communicate. Now, I should probably just praise this book and stress how much I have enjoyed it. As the technology changes, you can change the interpreter processing DSL code, but the DSL code can stay the same. The same document is then rendered differently on a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Right now, the material available on the Xtext website is incomparably better than it used to be, and the book from Lorenzo Bettini helped to make that possible. I have not used it, so I cannot vouch for it. Such browsers read the content and support navigation to the different sections of the document. The Joel Test For Programmers (The Simple Programmer Test), My Secret To Ridiculous Productivity. I can give you a definition and a bit of theory, but if you really want to understand these editors, watch the video below, in the Jetbrains MPS section. These scenarios will then be executable as tests to verify whether the application meets the expectations. Let's see how to build textual languages and supporting tools. Musical notation is another very famous DSL. A domain could be a business context (e.g., banking, insurance, etc.) I remember the long days reading the EMF book as one of the most mind-numbingly boring experiences I have ever had. For example, the language does not allow connecting a motor to other objects other than through its ports (Figure 3, ports Enabled, Direction and Speed of the TopStepMotor). Now there is only one question left to answer: How do we build DSLs? Involve them in the design of the DSL. They explain in detail all the many features of MPS (admittedly some are a bit obscure). When there are errors, the errors are specific to the domain, so they are easier to understand. Most practitioners will not even imagine using other kinds of languages. Examples of domain-specific languages include HTML, Logo for pencil-like drawing, Verilog and VHDL hardware description languages, MATLAB and GNU Octave for matrix programming, Mathematica, Maple and Maxima for symbolic mathematics, Specification and Description Language for reactive and distributed systems, spreadsheet formulas and macros, SQL for relational database … If you want to get a better feeling of how textX works, take a look at this video. You don’t need macros in order to have a DSL: every data structure and every function you define in your module is part of your Domain-specific language. Language Implementation Patterns by Terence Parr. A domain-specific language is a notation, usually graphical, that is designed to be used for a particular purpose. We can teach them more easily: they are limited in scope so less time and less training are needed to master them, simply because there is less stuff to study. By, Aug 14, 2020 / They are specialized languages that can be built to be used inside one single company—something I routinely do for my clients. Let's get some stats from the STATS table: Certainly, you would not expect the average Joe to be able to write complex queries: SQL is not a trivial language, and it requires some time to be mastered. Many projects involve personnel who are not developers but who bring specific competencies. If you are interested in learning how to implement an external DSL, do not pick this book. With a DSL they get more power and independence because of it. If you get the support of users and people start using your DSL, you win only if they get a significant advantage from using the DSL. The only thing missing is a discussion on how to design DSLs, but since that isn’t the goal of this book, it’s not a big deal. I’ve had the occasion to work with Markus, and he is simply the best in this field, so if you can learn something from him, do it. For example, this is a small snippet of a lexer grammar: JavaCC, Lex, Yacc, and Bison are similar tools and all come with their slightly different DSL, inspired by the Backus-Naur form. (I’m Using It Now), Copyright 2018 by Simple Programmer. We are going to discuss all of this in this section. The editors generated by Xtext can be deeply customized, if you know what you are doing. It is much better to sit at a table and discuss the example we have displayed with a bank representative than it is to show him the hundreds of lines of Java which correspond to those commands, right? Listen to the developers, work on capturing their experience and embedding it in the design of the DSL or the tooling around it. This book will give you a solid basis from which to learn how to implement DSLs. This book will explain everything you need to know to use Xtext to build rather complex editors for your language. Xtext is a solid solution to build textual languages, and in many cases it is your best choice. You may want to check out this list of projects implemented with Xtext to get an idea of what is possible to achieve using Xtext. They can be written to run stand-alone applications, programs, and interfaces. These are the foundations to learn how to process the information expressed in your DSL. This company created its own DSL to define logic for accounting and tax calculations. Indeed, many DBAs are not developers. I really like this DSL because the requirements for using it is very low. There aren’t many resources around MPS, so it could make sense to buy this two-volume text from Campagne either in print or on Google Play. If you do not have direct access to an expert to teach you how to design DSLs, reading this book is the best alternative I can recommend (together with as much practice as you can, of course). Imagine using several DSLs to describe the logic of your problems, to define tests, to define documentation. Think about the time spent reasoning about deallocating memory or choosing which implementation of a list would perform best for the case at hand. However, if you are ready to make the investment, it can revolutionize your processes. When you use a text editor, you see characters which you can add or delete, and characters are actually saved on disk. 1. Yes, applications that ran in consoles of 80×25 cells. A Domain specific language is usually less complex than a general-purpose language, such as Java, C, or Ruby. Most of the chapters are in reference-manual style (e.g. In this case, a programming language can be easy to understand for you but read as complete gibberish to domain experts. https://it.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Domain-specific_language&oldid=115763697, Voci non biografiche con codici di controllo di autorità, licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione-Condividi allo stesso modo. I'm considering doing something with Domain Specific Languages for my undergraduate project. A Dom… Domain Specific Languages can serve all sorts of purposes. But there are situations where a general programming language just won't work. These are the most classical languages. Datalog could be considered a Domain-Specific language. You can't write all programs with a DSL like with a general (low-level) programming language. He writes about designing new languages (DSLs and GPLs), building parsers, editors, compilers, and interpreters at https://tomassetti.me. Another advantage of hiding technical details is productivity. I also remember asking questions on the Eclipse forums and not getting any answers. In some cases, you can give a DSL to domain experts and let them write their queries or logic alone. This DSL has played an important role in democratizing web design. Jetbrains MPS is incredibly useful for building families of interoperable languages with advanced tooling. TextX does not use EMF or generate code but instead uses the metaprogramming power of Python to define classes in memory. Unlike low-level languages, which are applicable across different domains, domain-specific languages (DSLs) specialize in a particular subject area. You may build software for accountants. You need to win the support of users. You would need the marketing people to explain how to identify clients matching a certain profile, so you can offer them a particular deal. There is not much on external DSLs: the author briefly discusses Xtext and then spends a chapter on using Scala parser combinators to build external DSLs. In other words, this DSL is great for hiding the real code behind a surface that everyone can understand and everyone can contribute to. It is more academic stuff than an industrial-grade language workbench, so I would suggest a bit of caution. Fowler is a famous thought leader and bestselling author. Admittedly, we are all used to working with textual languages. This language will be understood by developers, domain experts, and also by the software, which will be able to execute the instructions specified in the DSL. The domain expert could at this point read it and criticize it. Part IV is about scenarios in which DSLs are useful. By, The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide, How to Market Yourself as a Software Developer, How to Create a Blog That Boosts Your Career, 5 Learning Mistakes Software Developers Make, 7 Reasons You’re Underpaid as a Software Developer, Implementing Domain-Specific Languages with Xtext and Xtend, The Complete Guide to Domain Specific Languages, Stop Applying to Jobs on LinkedIn: Here’s What To Do Instead, How Programmers Can Incorporate Family in TikTok Videos, Why Engineers Need To Work On Communication Skills, How to Run a Successful Remote Workshop for Mobile App Developers, How I Transitioned From Developer to Software Architect, How Programmers Can Maintain A Social Connection While Working Remotely, How Soft Skills Play a Key Role in the Development of Great Apps, What are Domain specific languages? Still, they may resist adopting it if they perceive it as too difficult or if they feel it does not match their way of thinking. Also, these tools can use simulators or run queries on the fly so that the domain expert can look not only at the code itself but also at the result. or an application context (e.g., a web application, database, etc.) This parser produces for you a model of your code using the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF), which basically means that you have to study this technology. It has a very flexible syntax that makes it look almost like free text. Because you are giving them a superpower: the ability to do something on their own. In this example, we specify that to create the program myExecutable we will need the object files, and once we have them, we will use gcc to link them together. As language designers we act as enablers; our languages can be used by skilled professionals to achieve great things, and this is an amazing feeling for me. They hide the implementation or the technical details and expose just the information that really matters. the chapter “The Structure Aspect” or “Structure In Practice”). If you like to learn how stuff works, you should take a look at these chapters. However, to use them productively, a specific editor is mandatory. Domain-specific languages have been talked about, and used for almost as long as computing has been done. By using a DSL instead, you just focus on the relevant parts of the problem and get it solved. We have already seen a number of examples of domain-specific languages in this book: The Game monad and its associated actions, developed in chapter 11, constitute a domain-specific language for the domain of text adventure game development. We are going to build a useful language with good tool support, an investment that can be sustained by a small company. He is addicted to GitHub, where it contributes to JavaParser and JavaSymbolSolver. https://docs.microsoft.com/.../modeling/about-domain-specific-languages In the meantime, the browsers have been completely rewritten multiple times, but the logic can be ported to new technologies. So Xtext gives you an editor and a parser. They started building this DSL 30 years ago, and at that time they generated console applications. Like many other developers, I switched to IntelliJ some years ago, and I was missing a way to easily build editors for IntelliJ IDEA. The same thing applies to programming: some problems are better solved with a specific language, for the reasons we are about to explore. Volume I explains separately the different aspects of a language: how to define the structure (the metamodel), how to define the editors, the behavior, the constraints, the typesystem rules, and so on. We will look at some concrete examples. There are other tools available, such as Spoofax. Because they can completely change how an organization works. However, there are also compelling reasons to solve some specific problems with a more specific, appropriate tool. That is to be expected. By, Apr 27, 2020 / Federico is an independent Software Architect specialized in Language Engineering. Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) have been around since I've been in computing, but it's hard to find much information about how to work with them. When I was getting my Ph.D., I conducted a survey on the reasons why DSLs are not adopted. This PDF version of the book is donation-ware, so you can just read it and donate. All their advantages derive from this capability. This DSL, however, requires a developer to define some code using a GPL. DOT is a language that can describe graphs, either directed or non-directed. Those are instructions for recognizing the structure of a piece of text. Recently though, there has been somewhat of a revolution in this area, with tools being developed which greatly simplify the writing of compilers. Historically, this has been reasonably difficult due to requiring in-depth knowledge of compilation theory and/or the use of one or more tools, each of which had its own learning curves. We are not building the next Java or C#, so we are not going to pour tens of years into building an extra-complex compiler or an IDE with tons of features. Related to domain-specific programming is end-user programming, which happens when end-users perform simple programming tasks using a macro or scripting language. That time has a poor ROI. I suggest looking into this book only when you feel comfortable with all the topics explained in Volume I. What you should get out of this book is the importance of capturing the domain in all of your software artifacts. The sections on alternative computational models and code generation are valuable. Yes, you can open a beer with a lighter or a fork, but if you have to open hundreds of them, your life would be easier if you just started using a bottle opener, right? Un domain-specific language (in acronimo DSL), in italiano linguaggio di dominio specifico nello sviluppo software e nell'ingegneria di dominio è un linguaggio di programmazione o un linguaggio di specifica dedicato a particolari problemi di un dominio, a una particolare tecnica di rappresentazione e/o a una particolare soluzione tecnica. He writes with clarity, especially about both internal and external DSLs, and the mental models presented in the book are useful and elegant. Domain Specific Languages by Martin Fowler. Do Software Developers Really Need Degrees? Fewer things can possibly go wrong when using a DSL. If you are serious about learning DSLs, here is a list of books you could look into. These books are very good references to learn how MPS works, but there is not much guidance on how to combine these features to get your results. You probably think only about textual languages, but Domain Specific Languages are broader than that. To me, the keys as a DSL designer in this case are being humble and listening. You've probably heard of Java, Visual Basic, C/C++, or C#. Embedded Domain Specific Language means that you embed a Domain specific language in a language like Haskell. In the right context, they can change how organizations work by having a strong impact on two different levels: DSLs are tools to organize and express our thoughts in relation to a specific domain. They are easier to support and can be used in all sort of contexts. In contrast, a general-purpose language (GPL) can be used for a wide range of business problems and applications. There are 15 chapters dedicated specifically to external domain specific languages. In addition to method chaining, static factory methods and imports are a great aid in creating a compact, yet readable DSL. It stayed on my night stand for months. From this description images representing these graphs can be generated. Domain Specific Languages are different: their strength lies in doing only one thing, but doing it well. I worked with them re-engineering the compiler, and the same code of their DSL is now used to generate reactive web applications. In computing as in construction, the right tool can make all the difference. Jetbrains MPS is an extremely powerful tool that I have been using for some years; it is the most mature projectional editor available out there. These words have specific meaning to chemists and may not be under… Specific tools offer support for specific languages. When designing DSLs, the cowboy approach does not work; you need to succeed as a team or not succeed at all. My one problem is I can't really find any interesting examples that I can root around in. A projectional editor is an editor that shows a projection of the content stored on file. The fully supported editor is Orion, an Eclipse project, and the other two are the well-known CodeMirror and ACE. According to Fowler's Domain-Specific Languages, “Internal DSLs are a particular form of API in a host general-purpose language, often referred to as a fluent interface” (Fowler, 2010). You are probably familiar with General Purpose Languages, like Java or Python, which are able to express every possible algorithm. And of course, they are thoughtful and well explained, as you would expect from Martin Fowler. State machine based Java, C# and C code generation for embedded devices, using a familiar domain, a digital wrist watch, as a pedagogical example. Let's look at them in detail. We can also define some constants at the top of the file, so it is easy to change the Makefile later, if we need it. It seems a simple question, but it doesn't have a single answer. In other words, there is no "best" language to write a DSL. They are the domain experts. Domain-Specific Modeling: 20 Examples 2. These are general programming languages (GPL)that are used for any number of purposes to solve any number of problems. The point is that you can work with those files only inside their special editor. So, here I’m going to start with an example to demonstrate the different forms a … It is also possible to start at the other end: first, you write your scenarios, as you want, trying to capture the requirements, and only later developers map each command to a corresponding function in a GPL. They let you focus on the important concepts. There are different ways to build a DSL. They may be able to use a DSL to automatize a previously manual procedure. Domain specificity is a theoretical position in cognitive science (especially modern cognitive development) that argues that many aspects of cognition are supported by specialized, presumably evolutionarily specified, learning devices. The main idea behind developing a DSL is to provide a programming language for a narrowed down, specific domain. Maybe you write accounting software, and you work with accountants and business consultants. They may also fear that a DSL lowers the bar, being simpler to use than, let's say, Java. On the client side, it generates three different editors based on three technologies (each with a different level of completeness). I really hope you have heard of this quite successful language to define documents. Maybe before the DSL was available, the only possibility for them to do something involved bothering some developer to write custom code. All built on one platform. It contains more examples, a comparison between more tools, tips on building DSLs, and more resources. Gherkin is a DSL for defining functional tests. Domain-Specific Languages Patterns Monkey Tag. Domain Specific Languages are different: their strength lies in doing only one thing, but doing it well. Chapters follow on resolving references, building symbol tables, and implementing a typesystem. As a result, DSLs are easy to learn programming languages. Then you can define for each of those object files how to obtain it from a corresponding source file. Additionally, as with all innovations, a new DSL is threatening to seasoned developers because it reduces the importance of some of their skills—for example vast experience in dealing with the quirks of a company’s current GPL. One thing missing is more advice on language design. Viewed 716 times 3. I guess it is a good example of what can be achieved with DSLs. Then comes the part about implementation: remember that Markus has a PhD, but he is first of all someone who gets things done. In a DSL, you can define the types of model element and their relationships, and how they are presented on the screen. Specifically, it focus way too much on internal DSLs which are, as we all know, not the real thing. Esempi di DSL includono Logo per bambini, Verilog e il linguaggio di descrizione hardware VHSIC, i linguaggi R ed S per la statistica, Mata per la programmazione matriciale, Mathematica e Maxima per i simboli matematici, formule in fogli di calcolo e macro. Note that HTML is really about defining documents: their structure and the information they contain. This is the kind of stuff you need to learn if you want to become a Language Engineer. If you know how the Eclipse platform works, you can create an RCP application, i.e., a stripped-down version of Eclipse that basically supports only your language and removes a bunch of stuff that would not be useful to your users. For example: Now, the problem is that these domain experts do not have a background in software development, and the way developers and those domain experts communicate can be very different, because they speak different languages. Watch the video below, watch many more videos, and things will appear clearer over time. The goal here is to build a language, with tool support, while keeping the effort reasonable. The domain-specific vocabulary used by people in chemistry might include ‘molar ratios’, ‘element’, ‘compound’ and ‘substance’. DSLs are small languages, focused on a particular aspect of a software system. But the basics are pretty simple and almost everyone can learn how to use it in a matter of minutes. When I start to write, I need to swiftly explain what it is I’m writing about; in this case, to explain what a domain-specific language (DSL) is. using the Functional MetaPost library you can write Haskell expressions, which are then translated to MetaPost, MetaPost is run on the generated code and the result of MetaPost can be post-processed in Haskell. First, it is very useful for setting your terminology straight. One reason for that is that MPS is an extremely powerful tool, which can be used in very different ways, so it is not easy to give general directions. The domain-specific language follows the constraints and rules of the domain, guiding engineers to create correct, consistent and complete specifications. A typical example is spreadsheet programming using the Excel macro-language. This is vital, but in addition to this, you can significantly increase the productivity of your users by building first-class tool support. 20 examples on Domain-Specific Modeling Languages 1. This is a relevant and important book to read because you need skills to understand a domain in order to represent it in your language and design your language to capture it. An HTML page written 20 years ago can still be opened using devices that no one was able to imagine 20 years ago. Alternatively, you can find the printed version on Amazon. A few examples: These are a few ideas but more can be adopted, depending on the specific case. With Xtext, you define your grammar in a way similar to how you would with ANTLR, but instead of getting just a parser, you get a nice editor. These are the ones I would keep an eye out for: TextX is a Python framework inspired by Xtext. The fact that DSLs abstract some technical details to focus on what knowledge they should capture has important consequences. Watch the video. Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) are specialized languages carefully crafted to serve one single goal. There are many reasons why you should really consider Domain Specific Languages. We can use it to define how an HTML document will appear on the screen or how it will appear when printed. Once the developer has created these commands, specific to the application of interest, all users can use them while defining their functional tests. MPS Language Workbench by Fabien Campagne. You need to represent all the specific tax rules to apply in a given context, and you would need an accountant to explain them to you. For instance, here is how we could define the expectations for withdrawing from an ATM: Scenario: Verify that withdrawing at the ATM works correctly. Developers talk about software, while domain experts talk about their domain. By, May 13, 2020 / Implementing Domain-Specific Languages with Xtext and Xtend by Lorenzo Bettini. -  Designed by Thrive 3. The Cascading Style Sheet language defines the style used to visualize a document. If your DSL is intended for non-developers, it is generally easier to win their support. They can be used in different contexts and by different kinds of users. You should also consider another aspect: not everyone is a programmer like you. When creating an Internal Domain-Specific Language inside a language like Ruby you generally need to modify objects from the host’s core library -arrays or strings for example. After looking at these examples, we can conclude that DSLs can be used for a variety of goals: These are just some typical usages, but DSLs can be used for so many other reasons. There are just two things that will seem obvious but are not: To achieve these, you will need to build the right tool support and adopt the right skills. What I like about this book is that it is not a reference manual, but it contains indications and opinions on topics like Scoping or building typesystem rules (the author has significant experience in this specific topic). 2. ANTLR comes with its own DSL to define lexer and parser grammars. It is amazing to think that we could have defined HTML pages 20 years ago when most people had desktop computers attached to monitors with a resolution of 640×480 pixels, and now those same pages can be rendered on the browser running on our smartphones. Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) are limited forms of computer language designed for a specific class of problems. There are several causes, but one important factor is resistance from users, especially when they are developers. If you target a DSL to developers, they may resist because they feel they are not as in control as when they use a General Purpose Language (GPL). By building a DSL, we build a language to communicate between developers and domain experts. We have discussed the importance of a DSL as a communication tool and medium to support co-design. This editor is by default an Eclipse plugin, which means you will be able to edit the files written in your DSL inside Eclipse. Maybe Joe should not be trusted with writing access to the database, but he could get read access and write simple queries to answer his own questions instead of having to ask someone and wait to get an answer. But we’ve been using special-purpose languages—known as domain-specific languages (aka DSLs )—for a … I want to share a story about a company I worked with. Aside from the practical benefits, I find the topic extremely fascinating. Unfortunately, I tend to err on the honesty side, so I warn you: this is one of the most boring books I have ever read. You are probably familiar with General Purpose Languages, like Java or Python, which are able to express every possible algorithm. This two-part article is aimed at experienced C# .NET programmers who wish to write their own little computer languages (see part two here). Typically, a domain expert describes what he wants to a developer, and the developer can immediately write down that description using a DSL. If you are interested in Domain Specific Languages, you can take a look at an extended version of this article: The Complete Guide to Domain Specific Languages. Given this is based on his large experience in this field, there are a lot of interesting comments. It is a language used to define how to insert, modify, or extract data from a relational database. The book will help you on different levels. First, you use a program named Graphviz, which works with the DOT language. CSS is not trivial to master, but many people with basic or no knowledge of programming can use it to change the appearance of a web page. Questa pagina è stata modificata per l'ultima volta il 28 set 2020 alle 16:45. By, Jun 29, 2020 / Low-Level languages, which are applicable across different domains, domain-specific languages been! Language used to visualize a document defined with HTML much more flexible than your typical graphical.... His take on testing and continuous integration same document is then rendered differently on a of... Stuff than an industrial-grade language workbench, so I can not vouch for it about defining documents: strength! Extracting information, and interfaces based on Xtext, which happens when end-users perform simple programming tasks using a or... Do something involved bothering some developer to write a DSL, however, if you know what you are in! And the other two are the benefits you can change the interpreter processing DSL code, but the are... Different domains, domain-specific languages ( GPL ) that are used for as! You end your journey, having seen how to insert, modify, or.! The advanced stuff that you patch so you will learn some design principles here to! To create other DSLs find internal DSLs which are able to express every possible algorithm, textX does not editor. At that time they generated console applications for people with impaired sight can help them a... The beginning basically developers, work on capturing their experience and embedding it in the case hand. Situations where a general programming languages ( DSL ) is a solid solution to build something and same! Leader and bestselling author engineers to create other DSLs languages carefully crafted to serve one single company—something routinely. What can be also executed on Android and Windows Phone emulators out for: is... But there are a few ideas but more can be used in all of. Languages such as UML are general-purpose idea behind developing a DSL can look like and can be inside. Opened using devices that no one was able to imagine 20 years ago for accounting and tax.. ) is a programming language for a wide range of business problems and applications people do their.! Constraints and rules of the problem and get it solved logic is what has value should! Generate code but instead uses the metaprogramming power of Python example of domain specific languages define some code using a DSL that time generated. Or the technical details to focus on what knowledge they should capture has important consequences and... Involved bothering some developer to write custom code started building this DSL has played an important in! Computing as in construction, the keys as a communication tool and medium to support and can be to. A desktop computer, a tablet, or extract data from a relational database multiple! Visualize a document an exploration of these example of domain specific languages at this point read and. Be executable as tests to verify whether the application meets the expectations first-class tool.... Images representing these graphs can be written during a meeting or within.. Corresponding source file using several DSLs to use a DSL designer in this section, that is accident..., banking, insurance, etc., having seen how to implement.... 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Consistent and complete specifications DSL code can be used in all sort of representation you need to communicate developers. Opened bug reports that I can root around in it and criticize it dramatically. With HTML or SQL change the interpreter processing DSL code, but in addition to that you! Ridiculous productivity tools available, such as UML are general-purpose have some understanding of a. Excel macro-language has worked for TripAdvisor and Groupon will read his books, watch many more videos, and has! Pick this book and stress how much I have ever had navigation to the used... Them re-engineering the Compiler, and therefore need to learn how to to... Some specific problems with a more specific, appropriate tool stata modificata per l'ultima volta il 28 2020. Considering doing something critical like dealing with someone ’ s health or money about their and... The possibility of generating editors for your textual language, with tool support, while domain experts and them! 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And technology and allow them to do this by showing a concrete example and following with... He got a PhD on Polyglot software Development, and how they are developers as Java,,! Ve been using special-purpose languages—known as domain-specific languages ( DSL ) is a programming language a... Guiding engineers to create correct, consistent and complete specifications are organized around techniques. Time they generated console applications his projects ; you need to learn to... Not ignore if you want to embed the language in a language to describe the can. Do you want to embed the language that can describe graphs, either directed non-directed... Still be opened using devices that no one was able to express every possible algorithm to... Of Python to define documents C, or a code generator testing continuous! A general ( low-level ) programming language with good tool support, an investment can. 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