Language Composition Using Source Code Annotations

Milan Nosál’1, Matúš Sulír1 and Ján Juhár1

  1. Technical University of Košice, Department of Computers and Informatics
    Letná 9, Košice, Slovak Republic, {matus.sulir, jan.juhar}


In this paper we examine source code annotations from the viewpoint of formal languages – we discuss their abstract syntax, concrete syntax, and semantics, thus showing the correspondence between annotations and formal languages. We propose to consider a set of all annotations and their parameters processed by the same reference implementation (they belong to the same domain) to be called an annotation-based language. The performed analysis also pinpoints a specificity of annotations in comparison with formal languages in general – the binding between annotations and a host language. We elaborate this idea with an analysis of annotations’ potential for language composition, in particular for pure embedding.We then show how pure embedding with annotations can be used for language unification, language referencing by extension, and language extension. This work provides a basis for further research in the field of source code annotations in the context of formal languages.

Key words

source code annotations, annotation-based language, language composition, annotation-based language composition, pure embedding

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Publication information

Volume 13, Issue 3 (November 2016)
Special issue on Trends in Software Technologies
Year of Publication: 2016
ISSN: 1820-0214 (Print) 2406-1018 (Online)
Publisher: ComSIS Consortium

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How to cite

Nosál’, M., Sulír, M., Juhár, J.: Language Composition Using Source Code Annotations. Computer Science and Information Systems, Vol. 13, No. 3, 707–729. (2016),