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CHAPTER 2 INTRODUCTION TO INTELLIPAD
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Here is the procedure: 1. Open Intellipad and save the empty buffer as a file with the name LunchCounter.m. Do this from the File Save As menu option. This will switch the mode to M mode. Create an empty module called LunchCounter, as shown in Figure 2-27.
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Figure 2-27. Creating an empty LunchCounter module in M
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Click on the M Mode menu and select T-SQL Preview (shown in Figure 2-28).
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Figure 2-28. Selecting the T-SQL Preview for the M code
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This will present a split screen view, with the generated T-SQL code shown in the right pane. The reason you don t see any code generated yet is that there is nothing to generate until you define an extent in your M code. Defining an extent will cause a table to be created in SQL Server.
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CHAPTER 2 INTRODUCTION TO INTELLIPAD
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Figure 2-29. No code is generated yet because you only have an empty module with no extent (SQL Server table) defined.
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Now let s add the following line within the scope of the LunchCounter module to create a SandwichOrders extent: This simple line of code can be interpreted to say that the SandwichOrders extent (table) is defined as a collection of text strings. This is enough to cause the T-SQL code generator to spring into action and generate the code shown in the right pane of Figure 2-30. This pane is intended as a preview pane for the generated code, and as such, is read-only. However, you can do a File Save As to save this code to a text file.
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SandwichOrders : {Text*};
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Figure 2-30. The T-SQL preview pane (right) now shows the T-SQL code generated by adding the extent definition.
CHAPTER 2 INTRODUCTION TO INTELLIPAD
SandwichOrders instances to the M code and see how this affects the generated T-SQL code. Lets add a "Pastrami on Rye" order and a "Ham on Sourdough"
To carry the example a little further, you can add a couple of sample
order. You can do this by simply adding the collection of the two text strings, represented between braces and with the two items of the collection separated by a comma:
{"Pastrami on Rye", "Ham on Sourdough"}
You place this code for the collection immediately after the extent definition (Figure 2-31). Note that carriage returns and new lines are regarded as white space by the compiler, which is what is generating the T-SQL code in the preview pane on the right.
Figure 2-31. Adding two SandwichOrders instances to the extent
Let s walk through the generated T-SQL code in the right pane of Figure 2-31 to see what s happening: Lines 1-8: This does some initial configuration stuff and begins a transaction for code sequence to follow. This transaction will be committed at the end of the sequence.
CHAPTER 2 INTRODUCTION TO INTELLIPAD
Lines 10-17: This tests whether a LunchCounter (the name of the module) schema already exists in the database. If it doesn t, the schema is created. Lines 19-23: This section creates the SandwichOrders table with a single text field to contain the text of the order. Lines 25-28: This inserts the two sample SandwichOrders instances into the table. Lines 30-31: This commits the transaction that was initiated at the top of the code. And all of this from just a few lines of M code! It looks like the advantage provided by the SQL Server Modeling framework in terms of enabling a developer to create, refine, and maintain a domain model is significant.
In the next chapter, I will walk you through a much more extended exercise showing how to use Intellipad to create and refine a domain-specific language.
CHAPTER 3
Domain-Specific Languages 101: Lola s Lunch Counter
In this chapter, I ll talk about domain-specific languages (DSLs), and you ll build a very simple DSL using Intellipad. As one might guess, the descriptive term domain-specific means using the language to define a model or do something useful in a specific area of activity or knowledge. In the context of software development, the term domain normally applies to a business operation, process, or workflow, such as micro-brewing or creating insurance products. The term could apply to areas as diverse as risk management, modeling traffic flows, or creating a just-in-time inventory system. Most DSLs, however, are not so ambitious and address more narrowly constrained domains. Not unlike a map (the kind on paper showing highways and towns), a DSL is a way of abstracting away the conceptual chaff of a domain or process so that you have a cleaner and simpler way of representing and analyzing the problem at hand. The benefit is greater ease of analysis and development; the risk is that some of the conceptual chaff that s removed might include a few grains that you really could use later on. Usually (but not always), it s easy to add these kinds of things back in if you need them. Martin Fowler s definition of a DSL is, a computer programming language of limited expressiveness focused on a particular domain (DSLDevCon 2009 talk: http://msdn.microsoft.com/enus/data/dd727707.aspx). The phrase limited expressiveness is key here, and it is what differentiates a DSL from a general programming language like C# or Java. But why would you want limited expressiveness Isn t expressiveness a good thing in a programming language Well. . .yes and no. Usually, there s a strong correlation of expressiveness with complexity, and if you can remove some of the complexity to gain clarity and ease of use in a domain, that could be a good thing. DSLs are especially useful as a means of communication between the technical people and stakeholders. If the stakeholders have a relatively simple tool, like a clear and well-designed DSL, it makes it that much easier to communicate their intent to the software architect, designer, or developer. In this chapter, you ll develop a very simple example of a DSL, the code to process the language (sometimes called Mgrammar, or DSL Grammar, in the context of SQL Server Modeling), and deploy the resulting model with instances to SQL Server. If all goes according to plan, you should see a direct mapping from the DSL model and the structure of the data model reflected in the database.
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