Discussion: Textual vs Projectional Environments and Approaches

@Niko has suggested this topic for our next presentation on the 18th of February

I think it is a very interesting topic and I think that if we could derive some guidelines to help practicioners make a decision on this, it would be very helpful. In the same way as it would be very useful to have clear guidelines to guide people to decide to build DSLs or not.

Can you think of someone we should invite to contribute to this discussion? Any “textual language champion”? Maybe @lorenzo.bettini , giving his involvment with Xtext.
Any other suggestion?


I’m afraid I cannot take part in such meetings during the day due to work commitments

I have worked with Xtext quite a bit, so I can cover that to some degree.
Two areas I know of, but nothing about, would be Spoofax and Rascal. I think they are interesting because they overcome some of the classical limitations of text-based systems, e.g. language composition or ambiguity.

@ftomassetti I think we would look at more than just the editors, namely the whole environment / approach. Maybe you can reflect that in the title?

Title changed. Does this sound better?

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I am sorry to read that Lorenzo, we would benefit from your contribution

Tijs van der Storm (@tvstorm) of UvA/CWI/RUG knows everything about Rascal, and certainly is a champion of textual DSLs.
Eelco Visser (@eelcovisser) would be althe counterpart for Spoofax.

Always fun to discuss textual vs projectional. Unfortunately, I already have another meeting on that night. Perhaps @jasperdenkers would be interested in representing Spoofax?

Always a fun topic yes :slight_smile: I once did a “hot or not” discussion about projectional with @voelter (I could share my slides with hyperboles ;). Unfortunately, I also am unavailable this Thursday.

I’d be happy to see these slides!

@lorenzo.bettini @eelcovisser @tvstorm If we moved this discussion, would you consider joining? I think it would be a lot more useful to everybody if we had more people with deep insight, strong opinions, and an open mind.

Hi Niko,

Sure. I could make March 4 (at 18:00, right?). However, I don’t have time to prepare (slides). So, it would be more a shooting from the hip discussion :slight_smile:

– Eelco

4th of March would be fine for me too (even as observer). I’ll post my slides.

Hereby: http://www.cwi.nl/~storm/ProVsTxt.pdf :slight_smile:

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I’ll prepare some slides, so you’re good, @eelcovisser (-:

@tvstorm Thanks for the slides, I’ll let mine be heavily influenced.

@ftomassetti Can we move the presentation to 4th of March?

I’m a bit disappointed you didn’t use an APL keyboard :slight_smile:

I love the style (-:

Yes, we can move it, but this leaves the problem of finding a topic for this week :slight_smile:

I like the style of the slides, but now I am worried this will end up being a religion war :smiley:

I can suggest you try getting the Enso team in Poland to present their project, it has has a significant amount of R&D already invested with a sizeable team.

Another recent effort is the effort by Katie Bell who is pursuing a research project on projectional editing of code. "What even is code? Building a non-code coding interface" - Katie Bell (LCA 2021 Online) - YouTube

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Thank you, they both look like very good suggestions!
@elisa.costantini we should add these two to our list