The Unenterprisey Languages Meeting held in Wellington yesterday went very well. The turnout was good with about 16 people there and the talks by Jonathan, Robert and Geoff were great. It’s good to see and hear about languages like Io, Common Lisp and Erlang being used.
Jonathan talked about Io’s prototype based OO system and how inheritance works in it. He went through an overview of Io itself, how the inheritance works, and how he used ideas gained from Io in a project he worked on recently. His project used a domain specific language he developed that used the inheritance ideas of Io to help manage the project. It looked pretty cool.
Geoff talked about Erlang, going through its history, syntax, reliability, and concurrency system. It was good to see him talk about the OTP system as I wasn’t very familiar with that and his demo showed sending messages across processes with dynamic failover of nodes. When the primary node went down the secondary node took over. When it came back up again it again took over. Very neat!
Robert Strandh talked about GSharp, his musical score editor written in Common Lisp. It uses CLIM for the GUI and looks very nice. The focus of the talk was how he embedded a domain specific language into GSharp to handle fonts better. Specifically the language was modelled after MetaFont, but embedded as a DSL in Common Lisp as a macro. This would then get compiled as PostScript bezier paths. The macro itself was a nice example of intentional variable capture (ie. It was intentionally a non-hygienic macro) which was something I’d not seen in a ‘real world’ usage before.
Robert also showed another CLIM application he wrote to preview the fonts from the DSL. In 172 lines of Common Lisp code it had an impressive amount of functionality. CLIM looks to be a very powerful framework.
After the talks we all went out for a great meal at a local restaurant and ate, drank, and talked for most of the night.
Overall I’d say the alternative language interest and usage in New Zealand is definitely looking good. Thanks to everyone who attended and those that organised it - very worthwhile!