ANTLRWorks Seems an Incredible Tool for Domain-Specific Languages

 Via a comment by Gregg Irwin, here’s a REBOL-based control language for Excel by Robert Muench. (Wow, REBOL: There’s a blast from the past!). Sample code:

goto cell “B6”
change to “Testing”
select “B7”
set to “=B4 * B5”
select “A5:A9”
change to “=$B$5 * PI()”

Nice!

I also cruised on over to the ANTLR homepage to download the latest version of what I consider the best tool for DSL work and found the beta of ANTLRWorks. Holy moley! This is one of the best advances in development tools I’ve seen in many years: it’s a GUI for developing grammars. It has an integrated interpreter and debugger. Check out the screenshots for a taste. The only thing I could dream of being better would be a testing framework to compare inputs to abstract syntax trees!

ANTLR 3.0 (the version in beta) doesn’t seem to yet have its output templates integrated, so I think at the moment you can only generate Java-based parsers. Check out the screenshots for a taste: