Designing and Implementing a Domain-Specific Language

“Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language.”—Ludwig Wittgenstein

is like unquoted content, whereas:

exec("%s = 'test'"%n)

is like quoted content.

In Logix, the forward slash represents an escaped variable. Escaped variables are replaced with their values the same way that %s is replaced with the value of n in the sample exec expression. The escaped @ represents the current module, so \@.Printer is a reference to the Printer class. The list comprehension builds a Printer instance for each printer definition. Logix provides special syntax for dictionary access:


is transformed into:


So, the interpreter acquires the IP, the host and the option block from the Printer definition dict and passes them as arguments to the Printer constructor.

The default operator takes its block and assigns it to the default Printer class variable.

That's all there is to it. Now you can build the right tool for any job! With a good language development platform at your command, the only limitation is your imagination.

What the Future Holds

Did this tantalizing taste of Logix intrigue you? I asked Logix creator Tom Locke to shed some light on the Logix future. We soon can expect to see a faster, more effective Logix. The next release will feature an efficient new parser, written entirely in C. Eventually, Tom plans to port Logix to a more suitable language platform like Mono. He wants a versatile runtime engine that emphasizes security and offers a wide variety of featureful libraries.

Logix is currently available under the GPL. Future releases also will offer a less-restrictive license that will enable developers to distribute original and modified works in both source and binary form.

Resources for this article: /article/8209.

Ryan Paul is a system administrator, a freelance writer and an ardent proponent of open-source technology. He welcomes your questions and comments. Ryan can be contacted at


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