Co-designing DSL quality assurance measures for and with non-programming experts

Holger Stadel Borum, Christoph Seidl, Peter Sestoft

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Domain-specific languages seek to provide domain guarantees that eliminate many errors allowed by general-purpose languages. Still, a domain-specific language requires additional quality assurance measures to ensure that specifications behave as intended by the users. However, some domains may have specific quality assurance measures (e.g., proofs, experiments, or case studies) with little tradition of using quality assurance measures customary to software engineering. We investigate the possibility of accommodating such domains by conducting a workshop with 11 prospective users of a domain-specific language named MAL for the pension industry. The workshop emphasised the need for supporting actuaries with new analytical tools for quality assurance and resulted in three designs: quantity monitors let users identify outlier behaviour, fragment debugging lets users debug with limited evaluative power, and debugging spreadsheets let users visualise, analyse, and remodel concrete calculations with an established domain tool. Based on our experiences, we hypothesise that co-design workshops are a viable approach for DSLs in a similar situation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDSM 2021: Proceedings of the 18th ACM SIGPLAN International Workshop on Domain-Specific Modeling
Number of pages10
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date18 Oct 2021
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-9106-1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021


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