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Domain Specific Languages by Martin Fowler

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Chapter 42. Annotation

Data about program elements, such as classes and methods, which can be processed during compilation or execution.

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We are used to classifying the data in our programs and making rules about how they work. Customers can be grouped by region and have payment rules. Often, it is useful to make these kinds of rules about elements of the program itself. Languages usually provide some built-in mechanisms to do this, such as access controls that allow us to mark classes and methods as public or private.

However, there are often things we would like to mark that go beyond what a language supports, or even should reasonably support. ...

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