UDC 004.438, DOI: 10.2298/CSIS1002247K

Comparing General-Purpose and Domain-Specific Languages: An Empirical Study

Tomaž Kosar1, Nuno Oliveira2, Marjan Mernik1, Maria João Varanda Pereira3, Matej Črepinšek1, Daniela da Cruz2 and Pedro Rangel Henriques2

  1. University of Maribor, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
    Smetanova 17, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
    {tomaz.kosar, marjan.mernik, matej.crepinsek}@uni-mb.si
  2. University of Minho - Department of Computer Science
    Campus de Gualtar, 4715-057, Braga, Portugal
    {nunooliveira, danieladacruz, prh}@di.uminho.pt
  3. Polytechnic Institute of Bragança
    Campus de Sta. Apolónia, Apartado 134 - 5301-857, Bragança, Portugal


Many domain-specific languages, that try to bring feasible alternatives for existing solutions, with a purpose to simplify programmers work, have come up in recent years, Although, these little languages seem to be easy to use, there is an open issue whether they bring advantages in comparison to the application libraries, which are the most commonly used implementation approach. In this work, we present an experiment, which was carried out to compare such a domain-specific language with a comparable application library. The experiment was conducted with 36 programmers, who have answered a questionnaire on both implementation approaches. The questionnaire runs on more than 100 pages. For a domain-specific language and the application library, the same problem domain has been used – construction of graphical user interfaces. In terms of a domain-specific language, XAML has been used and C# Forms for the application library. A cognitive dimension framework has been used for a comparison between XAML and C# Forms.

Key words

domain-specific languages; general-purpose languages; program comprehension; empirical software engineering

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Publication information

Volume 7, Issue 2 (April 2010)
Advances in Languages, Related Technologies and Applications
Year of Publication: 2010
ISSN: 1820-0214 (Print) 2406-1018 (Online)
Publisher: ComSIS Consortium

Full text

DownloadAvailable in PDF
Portable Document Format

How to cite

Kosar, T., Oliveira, N., Mernik, M., Pereira, M. J. V., Črepinšek, M., Cruz, D. d., Henriques, P. R.: Comparing General-Purpose and Domain-Specific Languages: An Empirical Study. Computer Science and Information Systems, Vol. 7, No. 2, 247-264. (2010)