Tim Jansen's blog


2007/02/26
Final Post
It's not hard to guess after I haven't posted anything here for over a year, but I have stopped working on Eek. It's a bit hard for me to explain why though. For one, I hardly worked on any code in my private time in 2006. The only chance of creating a usable Eek version would have needed a huge time committment that I wasn't prepared to make. Now I am back to working on some projects, but Eek has a very low priority for me. Perhaps more importantly, I came to a point where I felt something was missing in Eek. My plan was to have a common data model for anything in Eek, EXML, and that's still one of the things I feel are missing in all other popular programming languages. But the language itself is missing a certain elegance and simplicity. And I didn't find a good concept to add it without sacrificing features that I consider important. At this point, my favorite language from a conceptual point-of-view is JavaScript. I first used JavaScript in the mid-90s when it was brand new, and then hardly touched it till last year. I have always respected the simplicity of its prototype-based object model even when I was not using, but I had no real reason to use it. This changed when I did some Ajax work last year, and I started to really like JavaScript. It just had the kind of consistent elegance that I wanted for Eek, but never found in the language itself. Thanks to libraries like Prototype and Mootools the often awkward APIs suddenly became usable. And the E4X extension adds the XML-processing capabilities that all other mainstream languages lack. Now I have had a look at the specs for JavaScript / ECMAScript 4th edition, which adds a class model and optional static typing to JavaScript, and it could become the language of my dreams. Right now the only implementation is Adobe Flash's ActionScript 3 which I haven't tried yet, but I am really looking forward to seeing it in Mozilla. The other language that I am currently playing with is Ruby. I looked at Ruby a long time ago, but never actually used it. Now my experiments are still in an early stage, but there are certain things that I like about it. It's conceptually not as simple as JavaScript, but the syntax is quite adorable and it's just nice to type. Possibly I will use it more often in the future. Unfortunately its lack of static type checks does not fit my programming style very well, and it seems to lack good XML support (whoever wrote that XML API it ships with has probably never really used XML in his/her life - the API has some strange features, like the definition of the Element#text attribute which does not work with documents that contain comments).


 

This blog is my dumping ground for thoughts and ideas about Eek. Someday Eek will be a programming language and system, somewhat comparable to Java in scope. It is my attempt to bring sanity to the world of computing.
At least I hope so. Right now it is far from being finished and I can't guarantee that it ever will be. I am still working on the specification, but I won't release anything before I got my first prototype running. The world does not need more vapourware and unusable beta-software. All publicly available information about Eek is contained in this blog. You can find the latest summary here.
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