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Programming Languages and the tower of Babel

By Dogfood in MLP
Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 08:33:56 AM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

Babel is a place to talk about designing, implementing, and the philosophy of programming languages. Its meant to be a discussion oriented site, and I'm currently trying to build a community around this rather specialized topic.

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I've always been interested in designing my own programming languages, and I always talk about with my real friends, and so I decided to make a site to talk about my ideas, a friend persuaded me to open it up, and so, several months later, I have Babel, it has a message board, links, and articles. Its an attempt to build a community/weblog around those designing and implementing programming languages.

I'm far from an expert in these things, so its not a "come ask the guru" sort of thing. Its just where sites like kuro5hin have succeeded in a more general since, this an attempt at a more focused community.


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Programming Languages and the tower of Babel | 14 comments (10 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
thanks for the link (3.00 / 3) (#2)
by Suanrw on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 03:14:04 AM EST

I spent so much time at the linked site, I almost forget to come back here to vote on it.

Programming Languages (3.25 / 4) (#6)
by nymia_g on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 05:29:29 AM EST

I just visited the site. Tell you what--it looks good. Just continue doing what you're doing and before you know it, people will come.

I'm designing and developing programming languages also. I'm currently developing an assembler and designing a high level language under the category Object Oriented Threaded Languages. You can look at my diary for the rough sketches.

A most interesting approach to language design (4.25 / 4) (#7)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 08:45:13 AM EST

The most interesting approach to language design I've seen since Perl (which was designed by a linguicist) is The Var'aq Programming Language: A Programming Environment for the 24th Century. Var'aq is an attempt to use the fictional Klingon culture and laguage of the Star Trek universe to create a programming language that is imbued with Klingon mores and ideas.

I've found this idea so fascinating that I've decided to teach myself how to write a compiler to re-implement Var'ak. Unfortunately, I've had precious little computer science while in school (after dropping out of college after 2 years of working on a degree in Mathematics, I ended up completing an associates degree in Computer Information Systems several years later). Most of my programming knowledge has been self taught.

Fortunately, I've found some good free (gratis) resources. Compilers and Compiler Generators: an introduction with C++ is a freely downloadable book that teaches one method for writing a compiler. Unfortunately, CACG assumes a working knowledge of assembler. The answer to which is the very readable The Art of Assembly Language Programming, another freely downloadable book. With such excellent texts, all I need now is to buy a decent calculator. Any suggestions on which make and model of calculator someone about to do lots of work with hex and binary ought to acquire?



Targeted Communities (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by GiTm on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 10:45:45 AM EST

I would be very interested to see how this works out. I travel a lot and depend on sites like slash, Kuro5hin and their ilk for the type of discussion that would normally take place in meatspace.

One of the problems I have is that these sites are usually very general in nature - it would be nice to have access to smaller communities targeted to a more specific topic (and computer languages are in my particular interest set).

Most smaller communities targeted on special interest topics like this tend to be based on IRC channels rather than weblogs (which is a real pain for me since I'm normally accessing the 'net behind a corporate firewall), so it will be interesting to see how a web based interface will be accepted.

Will there be enough interest to help this community grow though? My guess is that it will probably come down to advertising - getting the word out so people at least come and look at the site to make up their mind. I for one will be distributing the URL to people or groups I think might be interested.

I have been thinking for some time about setting up a weblog site for development issues - not news but a more Kuro5hin style community discussion environment. The success of this site will probably help me make up my mind as to if it's worth the investment in time.

Does anyone out there in K5 land have links to other weblog sites that are more specific in nature? Not just reposted /. articles but true discussion/community sites?
--- I have nothing funny to say here.
Wikis (none / 0) (#9)
by eskimoses on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 12:15:59 PM EST

Try the world of Wiki. Or any of its myriad of derivatives: Meatball (my favorite, and probably the best example of a wiki), WhyClublet, my own, AndStuff, or any of numerous others.

Wikis are a wonderful means of building a small- to medium-sized web community. I think that a topic like programming language theory and design could gain a lot from building its community on a wiki.

[ Parent ]

Structure and Meaning (none / 0) (#10)
by GiTm on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 12:39:54 PM EST

I've looked at Wikis briefly before but found them too unstructured and horrendeously difficult to navigate. I just went and looked at the links you suggested and found that my opinion hasn't changed ;-)

This is probably more to do with my personal opinions than any fault of Wiki. Where scoop or slash based systems seem like a dinner conversation (or conversations) Wiki comes across like a drunken frat party to me.

This raises a question - how structured/unstructured does a community need to be? What are most peoples preferences?
--- I have nothing funny to say here.
[ Parent ]
Structure in a wiki. . . . (none / 0) (#14)
by eskimoses on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 11:19:05 AM EST

Unfortunately, a wiki's structure is whatever the community creates. It's very easy to create a messy wiki; it's much harder to create an organized wiki. But then the same goes for any content; it's very easy to post a quick message; it's much harder to post something insightful yet concise. Oddly, the shorter the message, the longer it sometimes takes to write (unless it's a "me too" or "first post" ;-).

On the up-side, a wiki becomes whatever the community makes it. Since there is complete freedom to fix and improve, there's often a greater incentive to fix and improve. Structuring like categories and topics, as well as things like "starting-points" lists help. And RecentChanges is usually the most popular watering hole. :-)

See also WikiCulture for some related discussion.

[ Parent ]
webring (none / 0) (#12)
by speek on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 04:00:30 PM EST

What about a webring devoted to focused, Kuro5hin-style weblogs? That way, any new topical weblog can join and immediately become accessible to those familiar with the other weblogs.

Just a thought....

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Good idea (none / 0) (#13)
by GiTm on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 04:27:32 PM EST

I like that idea - probably help a lot of sites get off the ground, and help point out some sites that have been lost in morass of web pages.

I wouldn't limit it to Scoop or Slash based sites though - just about any community discussion site should be able to qualify.

Aren't there sites that support creating/managing webrings for free? Does anyone know any URL's worth looking at for this?

What would be a good name for the webring?
--- I have nothing funny to say here.
[ Parent ]
interesting link (none / 0) (#11)
by yavor on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 02:04:25 PM EST

Here is what I found recently:
Compiler Theory & Design
worth reading

Programming Languages and the tower of Babel | 14 comments (10 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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