I’ve recently had the opportunity to work with ANTLR to create a DSL, and I’ve liked the overall experience so much that I’ve started using it for parsing just about anything, especially for my metaprogramming needs, and decided to write a series of articles to explain how it can be used to create DSLs.
In the first article we’ll discuss the motivations behind creating a DSL, what our options are regarding the implementation, and how ANTLR can be used to declare a grammar and parse some inputs with it.
In later articles we’ll create an actual DSL, execute and evaluate inputs, and even write a web-based code editor with full support for parsing and verifying code written in our language.
For this we’ll be using Microsoft’s Monaco Editor so it’ll also double as a potential VS Code extension because VS Code is based on Monaco as well.
But first things first, let’s see why we might need a DSL in the first place.
Note: You can find all of the examples listed in this article on my GitHub repo: ygunayer/antlr4-examples