Granny's Programming Pearls
"inside of every large program is a small program struggling to get out"
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Program Generators with XML and Java  RSS feed

 
Book Review Team
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<pre>Author/s : J. Craig Cleaveland
Publisher : Prentice-Hall
Category : Advanced
Review by : Margarita Isayeva
Rating : 6 horseshoes
</pre>
I had a very satisfying experience working with template-based program generators and have been intrigued by these techniques since then. A combination of Java and XML stated in the title sounded promising. So, maybe because of too high an expectation, this book was somewhat disappointing. It is written in a simple, "dummies friendly" style which is just too simple for the subject matter.
The book starts with a light introduction to domain analysis; then there is an outline of JSP and XSLT/XPath technologies - probably to allow a reader unfamiliar with them to understand examples. However if you are familiar with both, the examples don't provide too much insight besides common sense.
The chapter that could be central to the book shows how you can develop your own template language. Instead of formal approach, the development process is shown "by example", and a reader can witness how a syntactical clone of JSP is designed. In my opinion, absence of any formal design guidelines, limits the chapter's value.
In short, it can be a gentle introduction in a rather complex field, and give you some ideas how to implement a simple Program Generator in your project. Then, if you want more, Krzysztof Czarnecki and Ulrich W. Eisenecker's "Generative Programming" is the classic in this field; which is more of a challenge to read, though.
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It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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