Generally, I'll try to show it to some of my programmer friends, or to people at work.
I had actually come up with an interview question: take two strings and return the index of the first difference. I posted some arc code, and wanted to have people run it.
(def first-difference (seq1 seq2 (o comparer is))
"Returns the index of the first difference between seq1 and seq2, or nil if
they are the same. This function uses 'comparer as the function to compare
elements of the sequences."
(withs (len1 (len seq1) ;; 'withs ([var1 val1]* ) binds each var to its val
len2 (len seq2)
helper (afn (seq1 seq2 pos) ;; 'afn makes an anonymous function that
;; can recurse by calling 'self
(if (is len1
pos) ;; at end of both sequences
(or (is len1
pos)) ;; at end of only one sequence
seq2.pos) ;; found a difference
(self seq1 seq2 (+ pos 1)))))
(helper seq1 seq2 0)))
It's interesting to compare this to the solution in my workday language. One of the reasons that M is shorter is because its functions are more tolerant. For arc, I had to make sure that the index to the string was not too large. In M, it simply returns an empty string if you attempt to access a string position beyond the length. And I used iteration with M. Perhaps the arc solution would have been shorter had I done the same there.
If the string X = the string Y, print 0 (to indicate there are no differences / MUMPS uses 1-based indexing of strings)
Otherwise, go through each character of the strings and at the point where they differ, print that index and quit looping.
MUMPS does not error out on attempting to extract a character beyond the string's length. So in that event, 1 string's extract will return the empty string, which will differ from the other string's extract and will cause you to print the index and quit. Not generating such an error, of course, cuts down on the code needed.
So if we enter the for loop, we know there is a difference between the two sequences.
So we just need to find an index position i where (isnt seq1.i seq2.i) is true. If indexing off the end of a string causes an error, we need to put in code to prevent that. If indexing off the end of a string returns anything that can't be an element of the string, we can compare each index i until we find a difference, knowing that we'll eventually find one.