Published in Journal of Functional Programming, Volume 20, Issue 1, January 1, 2010, pages 3-18.
Copyright © 2010 Cambridge University Press.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0956796809990281.
Many computer science departments are debating the role of programming languages in the curriculum. These discussions often question the relevance and appeal of programming-languages content for today's students. In our experience, domain-specific, “little languages” projects provide a compelling illustration of the importance of programming-language concepts. This paper describes projects that prototype mainstream applications such as PowerPoint, TurboTax, and animation scripting. We have used these exercises as modules in non-programming languages courses, including courses for first year students. Such modules both encourage students to study linguistic topics in more depth and provide linguistic perspective to students who might not otherwise be exposed to the area.