Supporting new programming languages in IntelliJ

OData support
Dr. Simon Balázs
Department of Control Engineering and Information Technology

The software development process may contain repetitive tasks. The number of these tasks can be reduced with the help of Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) that are able to capture the notions of a specific domain. To help the language creation process and to use languages productively, Integrated Development Environment (IDE) support is needed.

The software described in this paper provides language support for the IntelliJ IDEA IDE and uses ANTLR4 (ANother Tool for Language Recognition v4) for parsing. The plugin targets three main functionalities: syntax highlighting for three DSLs, file generation for two of these and IDEA language plugin generation.

The three supported DSLs are meta-model, meta-generator and meta-compiler. They are part of the MetaDslx framework and their main focus is to provide support for languages. This is why it is important to include them in the plugin. The MetaDslx framework generates files for its languages. In the plugin the file generation of the meta-generator and meta-compiler languages are supported. The third feature is plugin generation. Based on an ANTLR4 grammar it is possible to generate an IDEA plugin that supports syntax highlighting.

In conclusion, the plugin can be used to create and use DSLs with IDE support. To support future feature requests, the architecture of the software was created to be flexible. This way its feature set can be easily extended.


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