Programming for non-programmers

A thread over on the PLT mailing list that LtU-ers may find interesting.

The thread isn't very technical, and the title may be a bit misleading: It's more about programming skills than about programming by non-programmers.

I wonder how many people outside the PL community would agree with the statement that Programming is just another name for the lost art of thinking. Perhaps a better formulation would be Programming, done right, is just another name for the art of thinking.

And by done right I mean using the right languages, of course.

MOZ 2004 talks available

The MOZ 2004 "Second International Conference on
Mozart/Oz" just finished a week ago. There were
50 participants and 23 technical talks. It was quite an
interesting and intense event, with lots of animated
discussions. We have put most of the talks on the
MOZ 2004 main page. I invite you to take a look at
the wide variety of stuff going on under the Mozart

F#, a functional language for .Net

From Microsoft Research:

F# is a variant of ML with a core language akin to that of the OCaml programming language. F# runs on top of the .NET Framework and in many ways the language is designed to be an "ML that fits with .NET". F# includes extensions for working across languages, and the aim is to have it work together seamlessly with C#, COmega, Visual Basic, SML.NET and other .NET programming languages and tools. It is the first ML language where all the types and values in an ML program can be accessed from some significant object-oriented imperative languages (e.g. C#) in a predictable and (reasonably) friendly way.

Rel: an open source implementation of Date & Darwen's Tutorial D

More from Slashdot, which today points to an article on Rel, Dave Voorhis' open source implementation of Tutorial D (see Chris Date and Hugh Darwen's The Third Manifesto for a discussion of the rationale behind this language).

Voorhis explains his motives for creating the implementation in an article on the (currently somewhat sparse) Rel Wiki.

Discussions of possible replacements of, or improvements on, SQL usually end up being all about the powerful institutional/human factors (or "network effects") that will impede acceptance of any new solution. Refreshingly, Voorhis is going ahead and building one anyway, without waiting for approval from the masses. It might catch on, or it might not; at least someone's giving it a go.

Statistical programming with R

Three part series on R that's of interest for domain specific PL development. First parts can be found at Part 1: Dabbling with a wealth of statistical facilities and
Part 2: Functional programming and data exploration. (Part three is still in the works). R is a suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display, which is quite useful for statistical analysis. It builds upon the S language developed originally at Bell Labs.

A three-part series, ...introduces you to R, a rich statistical environment, released as free software. It includes a programming language, an interactive shell, and extensive graphing capability. What's more, R comes with a spectacular collection of functions for mathematical and statistical manipulations -- with still more capabilities available in optional packages... The (GPL'd) R programming language has two parents, the proprietary S/S-PLUS programming language, from which it gets most of its syntax, and the Scheme programming language, from which it gets many (more subtle) semantic aspects.
R and S were touched on fairly briefly in the LtU discussion about Regression Analysis. A more detailed introduction can found be found at An Introduction to R.

Croquet Project Releases Initial Developer Release

(via Slashdot). The initial developer release of Croquet, the Smalltalk-based distributed computing environment, is now available.

It's different enought that I don't really know what to make of it - is this the future? Or a testbed for ideas that will find more durable expression in another context?

LL4 Call for Presentations

LL4 will be held at MIT on Saturday, Dec. 4. The due date for presentation proposals is Nov. 12.

We solicit abstracts of talks to be given at the workshop. Go for it -- convince us. Talks will be 30 minutes long, including time for questions and answers. Presenters are not expected to submit papers, but slides will be published on the workshop web site. We will also consider proposals for talks of different lengths.


A more remrkable example of a Wiki backed by a Wiki specific DSL.

The guided tours on Jotspot's website aren't very useful. I recommend viewing Jon Udell's discussion cum demo with the Jotspot guys.

The most important point for PL types is the notion of programmability. The world is going in that direction, and this should work to our advantage guys... Language design is becoming more mainstream, but it's still hard work that requires good linguistic intuition.

It seems that the Jotspot guys are aware of this trend, seeing as they talk about "part time programmers".

Google Print (and Computable Functions)

LtU-ers should be aware of google's new Google Print initiative to digitize books and support full text searches.

To get a feel for the new service, and for the sake of the subject matter itself, you might want to take a look at the book Computable Functions by Nikolai Konstantinovich Vereshchagin, Neal Noah Madras.

Updated LtU Archive Index

Been a while since I've updated my archive index - specifically since the demise of manilla back in late June. This site is easier to index, but still I like to have access to all the thread titles on a single page. Index includes both the original archive index, as well as the new site.

In the process of doing this, I've cleared off all the original archive pages from my website. Our host has them available on the this website via the Archive. Makes more sense to have all the pages on our main site, rather than multiple copies floating around (even though I put norobot meta tags in them).

For some reason, it seems like we've been moved longer than the 3-4 months that have actually elapsed. Thanks to Anton again for the home.