Implementing Domain-Specific Languages with Xtext and Xtend - Second Edition

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  • Write Xtext grammar for a DSL;
  • Use Xtend as an alternative to Java to write cleaner, easier-to-read, and more maintainable code;
  • Build your Xtext DSLs easily with Maven/Tycho and Gradle;
  • Write a code generator and an interpreter for a DSL;
  • Explore the Xtext scoping mechanism for symbol resolution;
  • Test most aspects of the DSL implementation with JUnit;
  • Understand best practices in DSL implementations with Xtext and Xtend;
  • Develop your Xtext DSLs using Continuous Integration mechanisms;
  • Use an Xtext editor in a web application

Xtext is an open source Eclipse framework for implementing domain-specific languages together with IDE functionalities. It lets you implement languages really quickly; most of all, it covers all aspects of a complete language infrastructure, including the parser, code generator, interpreter, and more.

This book will enable you to implement Domain Specific Languages (DSL) efficiently, together with their IDE tooling, with Xtext and Xtend. Opening with brief coverage of Xtext features involved in DSL implementation, including integration in an IDE, the book will then introduce you to Xtend as this language will be used in all the examples throughout the book. You will then explore the typical programming development workflow with Xtext when we modify the grammar of the DSL.

Further, the Xtend programming language (a fully-featured Java-like language tightly integrated with Java) will be introduced. We then explain the main concepts of Xtext, such as validation, code generation, and customizations of runtime and UI aspects. You will have learned how to test a DSL implemented in Xtext with JUnit and will progress to advanced concepts such as type checking and scoping. You will then integrate the typical Continuous Integration systems built in to Xtext DSLs and familiarize yourself with Xbase. By the end of the book, you will manually maintain the EMF model for an Xtext DSL and will see how an Xtext DSL can also be used in IntelliJ.

  • Leverage the latest features of Xtext and Xtend to develop a domain-specific language.
  • Integrate Xtext with popular third party IDEs and get the best out of both worlds.
  • Discover how to test a DSL implementation and how to customize runtime and IDE aspects of the DSL
Page Count 426
Course Length 12 hours 46 minutes
ISBN 9781786464965
Date Of Publication 30 Aug 2016


Lorenzo Bettini

Lorenzo Bettini is an associate professor in computer science at the Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "Giuseppe Parenti," Università di Firenze, Italy. Previously, he was a researcher in computer science at Dipartimento di Informatica, Università di Torino, Italy. He also was a Postdoc and a contractual researcher at Dipartimento di Sistemi e Informatica, Università di Firenze, Italy. He has a masters degree summa cum laude in computer science and a PhD in "Logics and Theoretical Computer Science." His research interests cover design, theory, and the implementation of programming languages (in particular, objectoriented languages and network-aware languages). He has been using Xtext since version 0.7. He has used Xtext and Xtend for implementing many domain-specific languages and Java-like programming languages. He also contributed to Xtext, and he recently became an Xtext committer. He is the author of the first edition of the book "Implementing Domain-Specific Languages with Xtext and Xtend", published by Packt Publishing (August 21, 2013). He is also the author of about 80 papers published in international conferences and international journals. You can contact him at