SPLS, 25 Oct

The Scottish Programming Language Seminar goes from strength to strength. We consistently have thirty to forty researchers coming from across Scotland, and the range and quality of talks is excellent. All of this with very lightweight organization and coordination.

About thirty souls turned up at Stathclyde, coming from Glasgow, Edinburgh, and St Andrews, and visitors from as far away as Australia. There were five talks, ranging from semantic theory to hardware design. Alex Simpson described an elegant (and beautiful and surprising) way to extend Reynold's semantic parametricity to Moggi's computational lambda calculus. Wim Vanderbauwhede presented a Scheme-like language for programming "Systems on a chip" consisting of hardware modules interconnected by a chip-wide network. Greg Michaelson introduced Hume, an attempt to put fp to work on real applications producing embedded systems with guarantees on the time and space used; they are applying the system to real vision problems in automated vehicles. Joe Wells provided a clear introduction to a calculus for linking, with strong technical results (can be analyzed in close to quadratic time, where the first analysis proposed in this area was NP complete). I liked that he focussed on the simplest possible calculus that could express the problem. Edwin Brady explored how a dependently typed language similar to Epigram can express resource bounds; Epigram is beginning to look familiar to me and I quite like it.

Many thanks to Strathclyde and David Lievens for organizing the meeting. The next will be at St Andrews in January 2006.


Draggable lists

Ezra proposes draggable lists as an exemplar of what we should be able to do with interactive Javascript in web applications (sometimes called AJAX). Great example!


Rodrigo Barnes writes:

Prof Wadler

You probably saw this already, but there's an interesting book covering a lot of the state of the art the Links project tackles (problems/solutions for web application development): 'Beyond Java' by Bruce Tate (O'Reilly, 0596100949)

A large part of it is an exposition of the benefits of Ruby (esp. Ruby on Rails) v. Java frameworks, but he does mention erlang and Haskell and there's a good chapter on Seaside on Smalltalk (a continuation server).

What I find interesting is that this is coming from industry rather than research, but does deal with language issues, if only on a superficial level. Tate has written some good books 'Better, Faster, Lighter Java' and 'Spring, a developer's notebook' which mark a progression away from the 'official' Java enterprise line. This is a line I've been following, as I think I've mentioned previously.

He's not very complementary on generics in Java as he says it is a language rather than JVM based implementation (so you don't get type safety when you integrate with non generic collections code).




No, I had not heard of the book, but I'll check it out. Thanks, Rodrigo!

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