Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Back to the future

Roly Perera, who's doing awesome work on interactive programming is apparently taking up blogging again. Yay!

Back to the future
I know not of these “end users” of whom you speak. There is only programming. – Unknown programmer of the future 
Jonathan Edwards recently wrote that an IDE is not enough. To break out of our current commitment to text files and text editors requires a new programming paradigm, not just a fancy IDE. I feel the same. I’ve spent the last two and a half years moving my interactive programming work forward, and I feel I’m now ready to start sharing. Bret Victor blew us away with his influential, Jonathan-Edwards-inspired, mindmelt of a demo but was conspicuously quiet on how to make that kind of stuff work. (Running and re-running fragments of imperative code that spit out effects against a shared state, for example, does not a paradigm make, even if it can be made to work most of the time. “Most of time” is not good enough.) I won’t be blowing anyone’s minds with fancy demos, unfortunately, but over the next few months I’ll be saying something about how we can make some of this stuff work. I’ve been testing out the ideas with a proof-of-concept system called LambdaCalc, implemented in Haskell.

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