Make Your Own Little Language: Intro to Language Design

Gregg Irwin
1:40-2:55, Barnwell


Little languages, domain specific or problem oriented, have been around for a long time. If you've ever typed commands into a shell, or written a config file, you've used one. Are languages hard to make? How do I even get started? In this session, we'll build a small language to show how fun and easy it can be; no Comp-Sci degree required. You'll learn what lexical analysis and parsing mean, what a grammar is, and the difference between syntax and semantics.

Presenter Bio

I have developed software professionally since 1991, and have over 400 books on my shelves related to computers and software development. Five of the top ten banks in the U.S. have used software I architected and implemented a large part of. I designed and developed an engine that dynamically generated ~4,000 Visual Basic forms from an AS/400 system for a large healthcare company. A school system management company generated over a million lines of VB from COBOL sources using my tools. I've written production code in ~10 languages, studied ~25 more, and lived through Structured, OO, RAD, Rational, Agile, TDD/BDD, and DDD methodology changes. I've been involved in every phase of software development, in diverse environments, taking many systems from inception to end-of-life. I've presented at conferences for Microsoft and Intersystems, as well as at BCC and other community conferences, and was one of the first 4 VB MVPs in the world.