The Concept Programming Development Process
The Concept Programming development process consists in the following steps
- Identify the application domain and the problem to solve. This
defines the problem space for your program or software component.
- Identify in the problem space the individual concepts, in other words the
aspects of the problem space that actually matter to the program and will
need to be represented in the code.
- Identify the behavior of individual concepts and relationships
- For each concept, define a code notation, if possible similar to
the usual notation for the concept.
- Find a technology that can be used to
notation. Choose standard technologies whenever that is possible and the
notation makes sense
(function, operator, object,
tasks, generic entity, etc).
- If no standard notation is appropriate, define and implement a specific
language extension that
represents the concept well.
- Verify that the selected representations preserves in the code
the behavior and relationships between concepts identified
above as much as possible. There will be
differences, but minimizing them is a worthy
These steps apply at any level in the design, from the top-level
application design (where concepts model interaction between large components)
down to the bits and bytes constituting each individual component
(where concepts might represent individual machine
For instance, they can be illustrated on XL as a whole.
- The problem space for XL is defined in the Concepts
section of this web site.
- The specific concepts that were isolated to address the problem
are described in the Inside XL section.
- Relationship between concepts, for instance the relationship
between successive source code characters,
or the scope of variables
(relationship between variables and blocks/procedures/modules), are
largely imposed by existing practice in the field of programming
- Notations for XL were inspired by either
standard notation for non-programmers,
existing practice in other languages or
invented from scratch to fill a perceived gap.
- The technology for implementing most of these notations in the
compiler itself is the
core of the compiler, though some specific
"standard" notations are implemented in the scanner in a
more traditional way.
- The concept of translation as envisioned for XL needed a
particular construct, the translation
- The result looks like most other languages,
even if the underpinning is very different. There are relatively few
surprises for users of previous languages when learning the XL
syntax or semantics.
However, be aware that getting there took a surprisingly
large number of iterations :-)
This process blends well with existing practice. Typically, the problem space
would be identified during a requirements phase. The relationship
between concepts and notations can be identified during the
specification of the program or component. The implementation of the
notation happens during early phases of the actual implementation,
and can be refined as this implementation moves forward.
The correct application of this process can be evaluated using