Theories of DSL Debugging

June 23, 2009

The ideal case study builds and validates a theory around its evidence. For my thesis topic, that means I would want to find a strong predictive and explanatory theory of debugging, generalize it to DSLs, and evaluate whether it explains or does not explain the data I find in practice.

One thing I am noticing is that many of the “theories of debugging” I have found are descriptive and somewhat explanatory but not really predictive— it isn’t clear how to generalize them to make predictions about DSL maintenance. This is part of the general fact that ESE theory use is underdeveloped. I’ve been thinking about the relevance of this challenge and how to work around it, but no good ideas yet.

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One Response to “Theories of DSL Debugging”

  1. Ian Says:

    There is an obvious theory that seems to emerge from all of the various reading summaries you’ve posted – years of experience = proficiency in debugging/problem determination – but that does not seem to be very DSL centric.

    I think part of what you need to do is narrow down the topic a bit more … DSL seems to be an extremely broad term. Do you mean web-centric DSLs? DSLs for programming industrial machines? DSLs for financial analysis? etc…? Certainly the list of companies you posted would seem to lean towards some kind of family of web-centric DSLs.

    The other thought that occurs to me, is are you looking at debugging, or problem determination? I suspect some DSLs include problem determination aids – either through some kind of simulation facility or correctness prover or testing facility or tracing or debugger or …? For example, if there are finance-centric DSLs, I suspect there are simulators, or testers or something that is used to verify correctness.

    It all sounds like something to sit around and brain storm about for a couple of hours.


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