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Barišić, A., V. Amaral, and M. Goulão, "Usability Evaluation of Domain-Specific Languages", Simpósio de Estudantes de Doutoramento em Engenharia de Software (SEDES 2012), hosted by QUATIC 2012, Lisbon, Portugal, IEEE CPS, 3 Sep., 2012. Abstractbarisic2012sedes.pdf

Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) are claimed to bring important productivity improvements to developers,
when compared to General-Purpose Languages (GPLs). The increased Usability is regarded as one of the key benefits of DSLs when compared to GPLs, and has an important impact on the achieved productivity of the DSL users. So, it is essential to build in good usability while developing the DSL. The purpose of this proposal is to contribute to the systematic activity of Software Language Engineering by focusing on the
issue of the Usability evaluation of DSLs. Usability evaluation is often skipped, relaxed, or at least omitted from papers reporting development of DSLs. We argue that a systematic approach based on User Interface experimental validation techniques should be used to assess the impact of new DSLs. For that purpose, we propose to merge common Usability evaluation processes with the DSL development process. In order to provide reliable metrics and tools we should reuse and identify good practices that exist in Human-Computer
Interaction community.

Barišić, A., V. Amaral, M. Goulão, and B. Barroca, "Evaluating the Usability of Domain-Specific Languages", Formal and Practical Aspects of Domain-Specific Languages: Recent Developments: IGI Global, 2012. Abstract

We can regard Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) as User Interfaces (UIs) because they bridge the gap
between the domain experts and the computation platforms. Usability of DSLs by domain experts is a key
factor for their successful adoption. The few reports supporting improvement claims are persuasive, but
mostly anecdotal. Systematic literature reviews show that evidences on the effects of the introduction of
DSLs are actually very scarce. In particular, the evaluation of usability is often skipped, relaxed, or at
least omitted from papers reporting the development of DSLs. The few exceptions mostly take place at
the end of the development process, when fixing problems is already too expensive. A systematic
approach, based on techniques for the experimental evaluation of UIs, should be used to assess suitability
of new DSLs. This chapter presents a general experimental evaluation model, tailored for DSLs’
experimental evaluation, and instantiates it in several DSL’s evaluation examples.

Gabriel, P., M. Goulão, and V. Amaral, "Do Software Languages Engineers Evaluate their Languages?", XIII Congreso Iberoamericano en "Software Engineering" (CIbSE'2010), ISBN: 978-9978-325-10-0, Cuenca, Ecuador, Universidad del Azuay, pp. 149-162, 2010. Abstractgabrielgoulaoamaralcibse2010.pdf

Domain Speci c Languages (DSLs) can contribute to increment productivity, while reducing the required maintenance and programming expertise. We hypothesize that Software Languages Engineering (SLE) developers consistently skip, or relax, Language Evaluation. Based on the experience of engineering other types of software products, we assume that this may potentially lead to the deployment of inadequate languages. The fact that the languages already deal with concepts from the problem domain, and not the solution domain, is not enough to validate several issues at stake, such as its expressiveness, usability,
eff ectiveness, maintainability, or even the domain expert's productivity while using them. We present a systematic review on articles published in top ranked venues, from 2001 to 2008, which report DSLs' construction, to characterize the common practice. This work con rms our initial hypothesis and lays the ground for the discussion on how to include a systematic approach to DSL evaluation in the SLE process.