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22 August 2011, 14:37

JetBrains releases Meta Programming System 2.0

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JetBrains' Meta Programming System (MPS) offers a development environment that implements the Language-Oriented Programming (LOP) paradigm. Instead of using a given programming language to solve a problem, developers initially design a custom, domain-specific language that ideally allows them to implement the required functionality in a better way.

JetBrains has added a diverse range of new features to version 2.0 of MPS, but had to break backwards compatibility to existing MPS 1.5 projects in various places. However, the developers plan to offer a migration path that will allow existing projects to benefit from the new features added in MPS 2.0. Among other things, a new plug-in system is to simplify the distribution of custom languages, allowing developers to create MPS-based IDEs for their languages and distribute customised and branded solutions.

MPS can now also be started from within MPS, allowing programmers to debug their custom languages. JetBrains says that developers can now customise the build process, the dialogues are now more straightforward, and source code annotations have been improved, showing, for example, the version from which the line originated and the user ID of the person that committed the line.

Java developers will be glad to find new import features for existing Java code. For example, the developers say that arbitrary Java source code can now be copied as a class, method or statement in MPS, and Java sources can be referred to directly from within MPS.

The MPS began as a research project in 2003, and a year later, JetBrains presented the theoretical concept behind the systemPDF. In 2005, an early version of the software became available through an Early Access program, and since 2006, MPS has also been used for a variety of JetBrains products. MPS 2.0 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. MPS source code is made available under the Apache 2.0 licence.

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