My hobbyist coding updates and releases as the mysterious "Mr. Tines"

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Why am I doing this sort of thing?

Michael Foord (aka Fuzzyman) has wondered, while linking me, about why one would want to talk to Scala from IronPython.

Partly, it is the intellectual challenge of that particular sub-problem. But the broader goal is to see how far it is possible, in this polyglot age, to build a language stack -- along the lines the Ola Bini mused about at the start of the year -- that one could drop onto the JVM or .Net using essentially the same code base, give or take a thin C# layer to provide compatible APIs in .Net to those needed in Java but not present in J#.

While the Fan language is developed to be exactly so code-compatible across the JVM and CLR, it appears to be resolutely monoglot, with the platform hidden behind an abstraction layer.

The ulterior motive is to take a codebase that I already have in Java/J#, the first stages of a reimplementation in a VM targeted language, of my old CTClib project -- and be able to complete the reimplementation/upgrade to RFC2440 spec, in a platform neutral way, and without having to write any more Java, even if the IronPython/J#+Swing interface will be rather less Pythonic than I could manage if I were just doing it in Jython.

And why Scala as well? For any new static layer code, especially where being explicit about the types involved, such as around the crypto, will make things clearer.

One correction, though, to the remarks : ATM, I'm using the scala-net compiler, which is part of the Scala bazaar, and seems (from its failure modes when the J# libraries are in the loop) to be a different generator to that in IKVM. Not being IKVM means I'm also spared having to drag in the GNU Classpath library, where the server stuff has priority, and desktop UI support is still primitive -- its AWT is less functional, in many important respects, than Java 1.0 was.

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