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3 points by rocketnia 2752 days ago | link | parent

I think I'll reply to each of your sections in a different post. That's because the reply to the first part got to be this long. XD And to make matters more sensible, I'll answer the last question first.

I looked at the wikipedia page for LOP, but what you're doing isn't about metaprogramming, is it?

Ah, yes it is, but I see how that might not have been obvious. It looks like I left part of my post unfinished.

Before: What (maybe) makes Blade special is that all Blade languages (even those defined in the s use the same namespace, and two languages can each refer to things the other language defines.

After: What (maybe) makes Blade special is that all Blade languages (even those defined in the same project) use the same namespace, and two languages can each refer to things the other language defines.

That probably still doesn't make sense, 'cause I also neglected to mention the more important part.

If I were to use one Blade dialect to write another Blade dialect (and I plan to), I could write code in the new dialect in the very same project. The dialect's code will be statically resolved in the same namespaces as its implementation is being resolved, meaning that the implementation can refer to values defined in the dialect and bootstrap itself.

Where you might write a macro in Arc, you might instead write a parser, interpreter, and so forth in Blade. You might also just mix and match, or just instantiate a new interpreter with different parameters, or, well, just write a macro. If you want to write a macro, write a macro. :-p

So metaprogramming--programming DSLs and stuff--should find itself especially well-supported in Blade. In fact, the point of Blade is for all its languages to be interchangeable DSLs like that; that's why I'm aiming to make the core language as unassuming and unobtrusive as possible.

Can you elaborate on the 'why' rather than the 'what'?

Well, it mainly comes down to my personal preference, but I can explain my preference. :) I get fed up with most languages at some point or another. I like modeling my program in the best possible way (according to my own aesthetic), and that's led to things like switching from languages without closures to languages with closures, switching from languages without continuations to languages with continuations, and so forth. There's always some feature or combination of features I miss when I program, even if I've never used them before.

With Blade, I'm hoping to make a programming experience where the abstractions I use are exactly the abstractions I intend to use, whether they're functions without side effects, functions with side effects, functions which expect tail recursion, functions which don't expect continuations, or whatever. I believe this circus of abstractions can work as long as a) they're normalized by coercion depending on their context, and b) new contexts (lexical scopes, dynamic scopes, languages, parameter annotations, etc.) are also easy to specify.

All this should amount to a language (or system of languages) that's hard to get fed up with. As a bonus for me, were I to get fed up with it anyway, I must have had a profound realization about my preference in languages.

Are there other examples of language-oriented languages?

Absolutely. ^_^ PLT Scheme[1] is a language which prides itself on hosting other languages (as the site's front page would have me believe), and XL[2], Kernel[3], and Eight[4] are all fledgling languages with the same high expectations. I'm not sure the extent to which XL provides extensible syntax, but it makes a big deal of it. Kernel and Eight are both founded on s-expressions with fexpr-style syntactic abstraction.

There's also almkglor's hl[5], a lisplike which "allows various libraries to provide their own syntax without conflicting with other libraries ... libraries which may have been written in a paradigm you are unaware of, or are even hostile to." That philosophy lines up very nicely with mine, and I believe I'd call it LOP even though almkglor seems to skip using the word "language" (a vague word anyway) in favor of "syntax" and "paradigm."

In a way it's all sort of the same thing. I can already write syntactic abstractions on top of Arc and call them languages if I want to. The thing is, it would be especially difficult for me to write the mini-languages I want to write in a way that also plays well with other Arc code, or any other language's code for that matter (as far as I can see, but I'd be glad to be proven wrong).

Instead, I'm writing a friendlier foundation, and I don't worry myself with the semantics of the language it's implemented in. I picked Groovy because it's fast, featurific, and familiar to me.

[1] http://plt-scheme.org/ (but you already knew that!)

[2] http://xlr.sourceforge.net/

[3] http://web.cs.wpi.edu/~jshutt/kernel.html

[4] http://github.com/diiq/eight

[5] http://hl-language.sourceforge.net/



1 point by akkartik 2752 days ago | link

"Where you might write a macro in Arc, you might instead write a parser, interpreter, and so forth in Blade."

Oh, very cool. That was kinda what I was trying for as well: the ability to specify new kinds of semantics, and the ability to have languages coexist.

Heh, I just noticed almkglor's hl has files starting with digits as well. Perhaps I just rediscovered his idea (or an even earlier version).

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