Monday, October 27, 2014

Language-oriented programming

Oddly, following the Wikipedia list of different programming paradigms to "language-oriented programming" led me right back to MPS, and a raft of fascinating articles by Martin Fowler about the notion of a "language workbench". [Here], [here], and [here].

Chief among the things that people seem iffy about in LOP is the idea that the stored representation is in fact no longer text (and what that does to version control) - but you know what? Decl is probably an ideal representation language for a DSL-oriented approach (one of the things I was struggling towards in the first iteration) and is entirely text-based.

So that begs further exploration.

Constraint programming

Wikipedia on constraint programming. I'm working through a mathematical modeling course and linear programming is a subset of this.

Back to basics - strings

Joel on Software on strings and algorithmic complexity.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Holier Toledo! Eco is a text editor that parses arbitrary languages on the fly and allows you to insert "language boxes" to embed other languages within them. The data structure actually saved is the composite parse tree, not the text, which is mildly alarming given the reliance of the existing programming infrastructure on text source code (although Laurence Tratt, the editor's promulgator, notes that Smalltalk has solved many of these problems).

This is really quite attractive. I can't think of a good reason it couldn't be duplicated in something along the lines of Padre, using Marpa.

JetBrains MPS

Holy Toledo - this is amazing! It's an editor/DSL integrated environment that allows you to compose your own DSLs into code in the editor, then autogenerate the output language when needed - through multiple levels of abstraction if necessary. Just watching the demo screencasts is making me smarter.

Anyway, this is kind of what I want to do, except, like the emperor in Amadeus, I find there are "too many notes". I need more simplicity. Maybe. Although damn. It sure is pretty. There's one embedded decision table - right in the C code - that gets translated into a C-like language with a "gswitch" statement and then further into straight C. That is tasty.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Binary patching on the fly

Binary patching is a cool notion (not the first time I've said that), but this is the first time I've considered that it might be done on the fly as a binary comes down over the wire. That's pretty freaking radical, actually.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Flood seems to be primarily an editor for solid shapes to be made using 3D fabrication - but to get there, it implements a visual programming language that also embeds JavaScript.

Which is so incredibly cool.

VST (Virtual Studio Technology)

VST is an interaction protocol for music generation software. Here's a neat, very simple VST host called VSTHost. The current version 1.5.4 is closed source, with the latest open source version at 1.16k. (He got tired of people ripping off his features without crediting him - can't blame him for that.)

I ran across this at all because the Windows-native version of ZynAddSubFX is VST-capable and bundles VSTHost. ZynAddSubFX is a Unix music mixer, open-source. I ran across it from a short article summarizing Linux music software, which I turn had found on a search for "open source composer software" after seeing references to Mario Paint Composer for building 8-bit game music, along with a masterwork of the medley art here. (That must have taken forever to do.)

So that was my recent music software trajectory.

Enterprise Integration Patterns

This is very cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

yEd diagrammer

Wow. This is what a fantastic tool looks like. yEd basically looks like magic. But if you really want magic, look at the gallery.

Making sure crypto remains insecure


Basic tips for writing Unix tools

Here. Except really I'd like a superset of Unix-y functionality. Wouldn't it be nice to have the same kind of tinkertoy approach but with SQLite or something? (Kind of where my SQP is going. Slowly.)

The semantics of event schedules

I seem to be stuck in survey mode tonight - and ran across this groovy little lightweight event scheduler from the Czech Republic, EasyTime. And really, event scheduling is pretty ramified if you start really thinking about it. When I was working out the basic feature list for the wftk, I sort of intuited that an event scheduler would have to be part of it - but seriously, you could do worse than looking at the feature list of EasyTime.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rich command shells

A very nice overview of what's out there at the moment (with history). I keep thinking I want to do this with SQP, but I'm still just not sure how it should look. (Probably the notebook thing.)

(Note to self: merge CLI and command line tags - they're the same thing...) (Or are they?!?)

Also, holy schemoley - xiki:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Article up, and also: exegesis and code analysis/understanding

My first article kinda-sorta based on an exegetical approach (of my own prototype code) is up on the Vivtek site, and the six-day code rush to write code to build the article from a note database has really whetted my appetite for more of the same. There are all kinds of exegetical efforts I want to make, getting into code reading in a big way.

So I trolled around Google for salient things. Here's a list of interesting things.
  • TipsForReadingCode at was quite helpful as a set of ... well, tips for reading code.
  • Code comprehension tools at; the vast majority of this class of tool is closed-source and rather expensive. I think this is largely because large codebases are not typical for open source projects, but rather enterprise code, and enterprises have the money to pay for expensive tools. That's my reading, anyway. But:
  • cscope is a venerable tool for static analysis of C code, anyway, and has been perverted to handle other large-scale grep-like analyses of large numbers of files. The tool itself may or may not be something I'm interested in, but its approach is probably pretty valid.
  • cflow is another flow dependency analysis tool, also open source.
  • Perl is, as always, a special case.
  • Well, what about static code analysis in general? Here's another list of tools.
  • There's a clang-based analyzer.
  • This moribund project on code "aspects" looks fascinating.
  • Finally, a book on pattern-based OO refactoring, which also looks pretty fascinating.
So, as always, lots of people are doing things tangentially related to what I want to do, but nothing is 100% there - because what I want to do is an extract-then-literate-programming kind of thing. We'll see how much sense this approach makes. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Stamplay: back-end development by drag-and-drop

Here we go, folks. The future. High-level descriptive language (visually expressed) for website construction by component. Exactly what I was thinking about three years ago, only done slicker than I would have managed.

Sunday, October 5, 2014