Tuesday February 25, 2014

Don't Write Off Tinkering In The Garage

Andy Arvanitis, of eero language fame, is at it again and experimenting with Idris, a Haskell like language with a simple interface to C. Which, of course, means he’s experimenting with bridges to Objective-C classes.

Idris fascinates me because it not only has a flexible syntax, but you can define your own syntax rules on the fly1. Andy shows off how he builds the same bracket and parameter list syntax you’re familiar with in Objective-C. It’s like programming language putty.

I love this kind of stuff. I know, I know, this adds to the complaint fodder about the creaking husk of Objective-C. I applaud work like what Andy is doing precisely because it charges our imagination with what’s possible—borrowing useful solutions in other arenas to experiment at the intersection of Objective-C/Cocoa’s history and today. I’m all for what happens when someone hermits up, thinks hard, and designs a language with specific goals. But, don’t write off the tinkering in the garage.

  1. And you thought Ruby’s metaprogramming possibilities were frightening!