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Re: Open source project recommendations

 
 
tm
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      06-22-2010
On 21 Jun., 17:44, Patricia Shanahan <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> I'm looking for an open source project to join.


My "technical problems" when Firefox is accessing Google groups are
gone... Let me explain why I think that supporting a programming
language project (and especially Seed7) is important:

Languages are an instrument to think. Natural and computer languages
provide a way to formulate ideas. How easy an idea can be formulated
depends on the capabilities of a language. When new ideas emerge a
language might need to be extended. Remember that the only constant
thing in life is change. This led to the idea to make extensibility
the most basic concept of a programming language.

When a language is syntactical and semantically extensible all other
features can be added sooner or later by using extensions. Most
languages are extended by using ad hoc extensions for the syntax and
the compiler. In the long run this is a wrong way. Syntactic and
semantic extensions should fit into a structured concept. Otherwise
a language and its compiler are in danger to become unmaintainable.

Seed7 has several areas which need improvement. E.g.:

- A database interface. Here I suggest something in the direction
of LINQ. It is IMHO important to integrate database statements
in Seed7 to avoid SQL-Injection. Sending unchecked strings as
database commands from the user level should be avoided (or even
prohibited).
- Integrating a widget library (or inventing a new one) without
complicated concepts with events and event loops (this should be
hidden somehow).
- Interface to OpenGL/Mesa (Complexities and OS/library differences
should be hidden in a thin layer).
- Checking and improving the documentation (this is a good first
step to get understanding of Seed7 and its concepts).
- Introduce statements with curly braces (many people are opposing
Seed7 and don't have a closer look just because it is not a curly
brace language).
- Provide a mechanism such that Seed7 functions can be called from
other programming languages.
- Of course you can choose whatever you want.

Be prepared to get stiff opposition when you decide for Seed7. New
programming languages start in a hostile world and fans of existing
programming languages fight against it from the first announcement.

If you want to make a better world and don't fear the language
competition Seed7 is the right project for you.

Please give me some feedback.

Greetings Thomas Mertes

Seed7 Homepage: http://seed7.sourceforge.net
Seed7 - The extensible programming language: User defined statements
and operators, abstract data types, templates without special
syntax, OO with interfaces and multiple dispatch, statically typed,
interpreted or compiled, portable, runs under linux/unix/windows.
 
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Lew
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      06-22-2010
tm wrote:
> Be prepared to get stiff opposition when you decide for Seed7. New
> programming languages start in a hostile world and fans of existing
> programming languages fight against it from the first announcement.


I don't recall that happening with FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, C, C++, C# or Java.

Nor, for that matter, with Forth or LISP.

Kinda hard to substantiate a thesis with that many counterexamples.

--
Lew
One should never generalize.
 
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tm
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      06-22-2010
On 22 Jun., 14:01, Lew <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> tm wrote:
> > Be prepared to get stiff opposition when you decide for Seed7. New
> > programming languages start in a hostile world and fans of existing
> > programming languages fight against it from the first announcement.

>
> I don't recall that happening with FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, C, C++, C# or Java.


AFAIK these languages had support from big companies (with
big budgets. E.g.: C# and Java), universities or the military
(E.g.: COBOL).

With an PR budget and other backing the success of this languages
is not a miracle.

Your answer shows what I said. Instead of looking at something new
with an open mind (and discuss the proposed ideas) you concentrate
on an unimportant paragraph and try to nail me down.

Okay, you won. I was wrong and take the last paragraph back.

It is possible to talk about the other ideas now.

Greetings Thomas Mertes

Seed7 Homepage: http://seed7.sourceforge.net
Seed7 - The extensible programming language: User defined statements
and operators, abstract data types, templates without special
syntax, OO with interfaces and multiple dispatch, statically typed,
interpreted or compiled, portable, runs under linux/unix/windows.
 
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Lew
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      06-22-2010
tm wrote:
> Your answer shows what I said. Instead of looking at something new
> with an open mind (and discuss the proposed ideas) you concentrate
> on an unimportant paragraph and try to nail me down.
>
> Okay, you won. I was wrong and take the last paragraph back.


"Won"? This isn't a contest.

It's about portraying truth, not misleading and unsubstantiable claims.

It's interesting when people handle disagreement by claiming the other party
doesn't have an "open mind" and issue claims that they're trying to "nail
[one] down", as opposed to considering the argument on its merits. That's
called an argument /ad hominem/.

--
Lew
 
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tm
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      06-22-2010
On 22 Jun., 14:57, Lew <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> tm wrote:
> > Your answer shows what I said. Instead of looking at something new
> > with an open mind (and discuss the proposed ideas) you concentrate
> > on an unimportant paragraph and try to nail me down.

>
> > Okay, you won. I was wrong and take the last paragraph back.

>
> "Won"? *This isn't a contest.
>
> It's about portraying truth, not misleading and unsubstantiable claims.
>
> It's interesting when people handle disagreement by claiming the other party
> doesn't have an "open mind" and issue claims that they're trying to "nail
> [one] down", as opposed to considering the argument on its merits. *That's
> called an argument /ad hominem/.


Excuse me, it was not my intention to insult you. I take that
paragraph back and state that you are open minded and
did not try to nail me down.

Is it possible to talk about the programming language ideas
from my mail now?

BTW: Patricia was searching for a project and I wrote a little bit
about my programming language vision (to give an incentive to
choose Seed7). More information can be found here:

http://seed7.sourceforge.net/faq.htm

I appreciate every feedback.

Greetings Thomas Mertes

Seed7 Homepage: http://seed7.sourceforge.net
Seed7 - The extensible programming language: User defined statements
and operators, abstract data types, templates without special
syntax, OO with interfaces and multiple dispatch, statically typed,
interpreted or compiled, portable, runs under linux/unix/windows.
 
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Tom Anderson
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      06-22-2010
On Tue, 22 Jun 2010, Lew wrote:

> tm wrote:
>
>> Be prepared to get stiff opposition when you decide for Seed7. New
>> programming languages start in a hostile world and fans of existing
>> programming languages fight against it from the first announcement.

>
> I don't recall that happening with FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, C, C++, C# or
> Java.
>
> Nor, for that matter, with Forth or LISP.


You should get your memory checked out. C++ people were knocking Java
right from the get-go.

Also, FORTRAN and LISP kind of had it easy, given that there weren't
really any programming languages around when they came along.

tom

--
We don't contact anybody or seek anybody's permission for what we do. Even
if it's impersonating postal employees. -- Birdstuff
 
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Lew
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      06-23-2010
Lew wrote:
>> I don't recall [fans of existing programming languages fighting
>> against it] happening with FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, C, C++, C# or Java.
>>
>> Nor, for that matter, with Forth or LISP.


Tom Anderson wrote:
> You should get your memory checked out. C++ people were knocking Java
> right from the get-go.


My memory is fine. Undoubtedly I just hung around different C++ programmers
from those you did. That said, I was speaking in broad generalities,
naturally. Of course some people fight against every new thing. I was
referring to a general resistance, which was notably absent in the instances I
cited. At least to my own experience.

Isn't it true that nearly all the early adopters of Java had experience in C
and C++? I came from a background of working in C and C++ when I began in
Java, and for a few years there was working in both C++ and Java, often in the
same job. If Java didn't appeal broadly to C and C++ practitioners, it would
not have gained popularity with the rapidity and reach that it did.

For a C++ programmer to knock Java makes about as much sense as for a Java
programmer to knock, oh, say, Groovy or Scala. Not that I'm familiar with
those latter from my own use, but I certainly believe the credible people who
sing the praises of those languages. Nor that that prevents small-minded
people from excoriating new things.

My own progression from Fortran to C to C++ to Java over my career is not all
that unusual for someone who stays a programmer long enough. If you shut
yourself off from new ideas from some bizarre pseudo-religious worship of the
familiar, you risk greatly losing the practical advantages and income
opportunities that arise from advances in the art.

I'm sure Seed7 is a fine language, and who knows? It might even gain some
traction in the industry. If it doesn't, then its proponents no doubt will
whine that it's because people are small minded and resist new ideas. It
certainly would never be because it lacks sufficient advantage to gain a large
following.

--
Lew
 
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tm
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      06-23-2010
On 22 Jun., 14:57, Patricia Shanahan <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> tm wrote:
>
> ...> If you want to make a better world and don't fear the language
> > competition Seed7 is the right project for you.

>
> > Please give me some feedback.

>
> ...
>
> Although I have no objection to improving the world as a side effect,
> user base and development team are higher priority. Can you tell me a
> bit about the users who are depending on Seed7 and the rest of your team?


Statements about Seed7 users are not easy since it is not required
to give me feedback and most users don't tell me what they do.

But I try to do some estimates:
At Sourceforge Seed7 is downloaded 400-500 times every month and the
ranking floats approximately between 1000 and 2000 (today it is at
1142). AFAIK there are approx. 250000 projects at Sourceforge, so
this ranking is not bad. There are sites such as Heise (publisher
of the German computer magazine c't) who maintain their own download
repository (see http://www.heise.de/software/download/seed7/62678)
so the actual number of people downloading Seed7 is probably higher.
There is a FreeBSD port (see http://www.freshports.org/lang/seed7)
where I have no information about the number of users. I have also
information about magazines releasing Seed7 on their CDs or DVDs
(In the moment I have no link at hand). The number of downloads and
the number of mirrors and reuses is definitively going up.
BTW: I do not download Seed7 to push the numbers.

There are Seed7 users who present their workings in the internet.
E.g.: Mensanator (I know his real name but he prefers to use this
alias in the internet) who presents some of his research on the 3n+C
extension of the Collatz Conjecture (as comic book) in the internet
(see http://mensanator.com/mensanator/cyc...ate_cycle.htm). He
used Python and the GMP library for this research and switched to
Seed7 and its built in unlimited precision integer support to get
more performance (The compiler compiles Seed7 programs to C which
subsequently is compiled to machine code). For this example Seed7
succeeded where other languages failed. AFAIK Mensanator also
continues to use Python (probably for other stuff). I recently
ported Seed7 to 64 Bit Mac OS X to support Mensanator. He had
switched from PC to Mac and now his Seed7 programs can be moved
between this platforms without any change. He talked also about
another project where he wanted to use Seed7, but I have not asked
for the details.

Several people have contacted me because they try to use Seed7 for
embedded stuff (which was not my prime goal). Other users have sent
me example programs (such as Volker Schuller with his analog clock)
or libraries (such as Leonardo Cecchi with his Gtk-server connection
library). The analog clock and the Gtk-server connection are in the
Seed7 release for some time now. BTW: Most users prefer to contact
me directly therefore you will find only few and outdated mails
in forums and mailing lists (I would prefer that this would be
reverse but obviously most users want to talk to me directly).

A relative new contact is someone who wants to use Seed7 to write
a board game. I gave some unreleased code (portable bitmap font
support and other stuff) to this person in the hope to get improved
versions back.

Although I get patches, suggestions, examples and other stuff
from various people I cannot say that there is a team of regular
developers. IMHO users usually request more features than they
contribute, but this is not a problem. Generally I think that the
number of users always outnumbers the number of contributors by far.

> I spent the last few years doing programming to answer research
> questions, so now I want to make sure that what I do is really useful.


One of the main goals of Seed7 is that it is really useful for
practical problems. This results in much unseen work in the
libraries. E.g.: Supporting big UTF-32 strings and huge files
(with 64 bit offsets) on several operating systems with several
compilers (when there are different native UNICODE representations
and different (sometimes buggy) functions to get and set the file
position). Reading of UNICODE file names from directories or getting
the current time under Windows and UNIX (using various compilers)
needs also several driver libraries. Portability cannot be reached
when a Seed7 user has to rely on operating system functions or
external libraries.

> For comparison, I know Apache is producing useful stuff, because I've
> used some of it. There is obviously a substantial group of people
> working on it.


Of course Seed7 cannot compete with the user base and development
team of Apache. If it is just size that matters you should probably
not choose Seed7. OTOH Seed7 is definitively used (and useful) and
its user base is growing so you could be an important part of
something which grows instead of being a small part in something
which is already big.

Please take a look at the Seed7 homepage to get more information.

Greetings Thomas Mertes

Seed7 Homepage: http://seed7.sourceforge.net
Seed7 - The extensible programming language: User defined statements
and operators, abstract data types, templates without special
syntax, OO with interfaces and multiple dispatch, statically typed,
interpreted or compiled, portable, runs under linux/unix/windows.
 
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