Monday, July 25, 2005

Mixins instead of Traits

On reflection (no pun intended), I can't see what advantage Traits have over mixins in a dynamic language like python. Specifically, python doesn't seem to be stuck with a total ordering.

import copy
def mixin(*classes):
if len(classes) > 1:
c.__bases__ += classes[1:]
return c()

class a:
def f(self): return "a.f"
def g(self): return "a.g"
class b:
def f(self): return "b.f"
def g(self): return "b.g"
class c:
def g(self): return a.g(self)

obj=mixin(c, b, a)
assert(obj.f() == "b.f")
assert(obj.g() == "a.g")

Friday, July 22, 2005

Improve the GUI Editor

Beware the GUI Editor only for a little while. For one thing, Sun is finally fixing wysiwyg layout with GroupLayout and assorted swing changes, and demonstrated in netbeans. For most of Beware's other complaints, all we really need is good template support, just like what we've been using with html for a while.

Just like with html, users usually won't care about the api for manipulating their presentation, but that's OK. (The favored api for html is the javascript dom.)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Python Shell

In the quest for best re-use, I'd like my "shell" programming language to be my main programming language, and to just support some syntactic sugar and extra functionality for interactive use.

Windowing systems obsolesce job control, leaving tab completion, history, and prompting as the important shell functionality. Python's readline bindings can handle the first two.

LazyPython and IPython both allow ommitting parantheses, commas, and quotes around function parameters. They use standard python's sys.excepthook, so that they only extend python syntax that would've illegal anyway.

This has two problems. First, there are cases that don't work, like calling a method without parameters. Second and more importantly, excepthook still throws an exception, and so discards context. That means you can't do:for i in range(n): some_convenient_method i.

So in order to do it right, we'll have to hack the interpreter, and while we're at it, we could even support working directly with the input. For example, you type some_convenient_method and then a space, and the interpreter inserts a paranthesis. You always have legal python code. IPython prints the legal python code after you hit return, which isn't as nice.

Incidentally, until we have interfaces or inference, tab completion can only work with already instantiated objects. (For example you can't complete list().a to list().append.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Electronic Paper

Should be on my link blog, but wow, Fujitsu is demonstrating electronic paper!

Highlights: as easy-to-read as paper, extremely low-power, flexible, color. Product to be available between one and two years (April 2006 to March 2007).