I am currently developing a small application, which checks if provided data meets certain requirements. The requirements are actually a long list, and might be changing, so I defined a syntax which allows me to state all of the requirements briefly and in a seperate file.

Now the overall requirements for the application have changed, and I need to change my configuration syntax. Which leeds me to wonder if there is methodoloy or best practise for developing such syntaxes. Currently what I do is

  • I think about the requirements and come up with an initial syntax,
  • start configuring the first few items and see how it works.
  • If I come upon something that does not work well or not at all with the current syntax, I change the syntax, if possible in a backward compatible way.

This somehow works for me, but it feels a bit like fishing in troubled water. Also I feel it does not nessessarly lead to the most concise and easy to understand/use syntax.

So I was wondering what other people do, especially if there is a better approach to this.

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