"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Thursday, August 28, 2003

XML + Java = Lisp?

What I just wrote about interactive programming with various languages brought up an old thought, and I'm not the only one to think on this. But I've not read anyone else with this same angle. I wrote...

Lists, maps, arrays, even self-referencing structures can all be entered end edited in a command loop or workspace using a very simple (i.e. few characters) syntax. There are also the mundane (now that Java brought them to the masses) aspects of these languages like garbage collection and array bounds checking.

How I believe the Java-like family will get even closer to this experience is via XML. Complex structures (i.e. nestedt structures as well as "primitive" values) is fairly simple in XML. The Java family of languages will eventually make the leap from XML constants expressed as strings and DOM'ized via a library. They will leap to the world where the DOM and the expressions are "native". These will be the "self-referencing structures that can be entered and edited in a command loop or workspace" that Lisp programmers have been doing for 40 years.

Then someone will create a Java with transparent persistence with shared paging so the structures don't all have to be in memory. Oh wait, been there, done that (more than once), and literally have several of the T shirts.

Of course these language communities first have to get over their fascination with such things as "generics" and "partial types", etc. Think simple. How simple can you go?

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.