Liberating Composition from Language Dictatorship


Bergmans, Lodewijk and Bockisch, Christoph and Aksit, Mehmet (2011) Liberating Composition from Language Dictatorship. In: Workshop on Reflection, AOP and Meta-Data for Software Evolution, RAM-SE 2011, 27 June 2011, Zurich, Switzerland (pp. p. 2).

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Abstract:Historically, programming languages have been—although benevolent—dictators: fixing a lot of semantics into built-in language constructs. Over the years, (some) programming languages have freed the programmers from restrictions to use only built-in libraries, built-in data types, or built-in type checking rules. Even though, arguably, such freedom could lead to anarchy, or people shooting themselves in the foot, the contrary tends to be the case: a language that does not allow for extensibility, is depriving software engineers from the ability to construct proper abstractions and to structure software in the most optimal way. Instead, the software becomes less structured and maintainable than would be possible if the software engineer could express the behavior of the program with the most appropriate abstractions. The new idea proposed by this paper is to move composition from built-in language constructs to programmable, first-class abstractions in the language. As an emerging result, we present the Co-op concept of a language, which shows that it is possible with a relatively simple model to express a wide range of compositions as first-class concepts.
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)
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