Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
Bellia M. Hierarcical development of programming languages. In: Calcolo, vol. XVIII (III (Luglio-Settembre)) pp. 219 - 254. Giardini;Springer Verlag Italia, 1981.
The experience in designing large software systems shows that even the definitions of a programming language can be seen as the application of specific implementation and formalization techniques rather than as the result of a designing art . In this context, a formalism is proposed here as a tool for defining conventional high level programming languages. The formalism is an algebraic model supporting the definition of representational entities such as types. A Type is a set of data and operations on them. An isomorphism between language components and types realizes an isomorphism between the language and its specification on the model. Then, the definition of a language can be performed by stepwise definitions of the types representing the language components. So the model is also a language development tooI. Stepwise definition methodologies are also investigated and two are the proposed ones: the horizontal methodology and the vertical methodology. In particular, the vertical methodology defines languages by the development of a hierarchy of abstraction levels, each corresponding to one class of languages: The last class only contains the language being defined.

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