Posts tagged "programming"

Can non-federated code hosting replace GitHub?

Last update: 2021-08-25.

Tags: web, programming, self-hosted

You guessed my answer right: I believe federation is the only hope for decentralizing developer collaboration. To back up this claim, I examine contribution patterns in a project that was moved from a self-hosted MediaWiki to GitHub—the repository with VyOS documentation. The key finding is that most contributor accounts are older than the repository, so ability to use an existing account for contributing was likely crucial for their decision to contribute.

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Life before Unicode

Last update: 2021-08-21.

Tags: programming, history

Unicode definitely added a lot of complexity to string handling, and people who use languages with ASCII alphabets exclusively may think it's unjustified. However, I'm a non-ASCII language speaker who's old enough to remember the alternatives, and the alternatives are far worse than the complexity of Unicode.

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Embedding and projection in Lua-ML

Last update: 2020-08-28.

Tags: programming, ocaml, lua-ml

One thing I find odd about many interpreter projects is that they are designed as standalone and can't be used as embedded scripting languages. Lua-ML is completely different in that regard: it's designed as an extension language first and offers some unique features for that use case, including a reconfigurable runtime library. You can remove modules from its standard library or replace them with your own implementations. Of course, you can also pass OCaml values to Lua code and take them back in a type-safe manner too. That aspect isn't very obvious or well-documented, so in this post we'll try to uncover it.

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Bundle NPM modules into static JS libraries like it’s 2006

Last update: 2020-08-19.

Tags: js, web, programming

A good thing about browser implementations of JavaScript is compatibility. The NPM ecosystem, however, is infamous for its fragility. As a professional “not a frontend developer” I try to opt out of it as much as possible. Luckily, if you just need a library from NPM, it's easy to package it into an “eternal” blob that will work forever. In this post I'll share my procedure for creating such static JS blobs from NPM modules.

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If you think ReasonML compiles to JS, you are wrong

Last update: 2019-09-05.

Tags: programming, ocaml, js

In this post we'll examine what ReasonML really is and what it compiles to. Everyone coming from the ML community already knows the truth, but in the JS community, this misconception seems surprisingly common. It's not just about giving credit, but about the true potential of the language that is far greater than that of TypeScript or Elm.

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Declarative parse error reporting with Menhir

Last update: 2019-08-24.

Tags: programming, parsing, ocaml

Many parsers for custom formats aren't very user friendly when it comes to error handling. At best you get the line and column where the error is, at worst a “Parse error” message is all you get. Can we do better? With right tools, we definitely can and it's not that hard.

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Extending OCaml programs with Lua (soupault got plugin support)

Last update: 2019-08-10.

Tags: programming, ocaml

Most of the time, when people make extensible programs in typed functional languages, they make a DSL, not least because it's much easier to make a DSL in a language with algebraic types and pattern matching than in one without.
Some use cases really require a general-purpose language though. That's where things get more interesting. Commonly used embeddable interpreters such as Lua, Guile, or Chicken are written in C. It's possible to make OCaml or Haskell bindings for them and such bindings do exist, but that's two high level languages communicating through a low level one.
It would be much better to be able to expose native types to the embedded language in a type-safe and more or less convenient fashion. Here's my take at it.

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Introduction to OCaml, part 5: exceptions, lists, and structural recursion

Last update: 2018-08-18.

Tags: programming, ocaml

In OCaml, exceptions are not objects, and there are no exception hierarchies. It may look unusual now, but in fact exceptions predate the rise of object oriented languages and it's more in line with original implementations. The advantage is that they are very lightweight.

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Introduction to OCaml, part 4: higher order functions, parametric polymorphism and algebraic data types

Last update: 2018-08-12.

Tags: programming, ocaml

So far we have only worked with functions that take value of a single type known beforehand. However, we have already seen functions whose types were left without explanation, such as let hello _ = print_endline "hello world" that we used to demonstrate the wildcard pattern.
What is its type? If you enter it into the REPL, you will see that it's 'a -> unit. What does the mysterious 'a mean? Simply put, it's a placeholder for any type. Essentially, a variable for types —a type variable.

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Introduction to OCaml, part 3

Last update: 2018-08-08.

Tags: programming, ocaml

This should have been covered earlier, but better late than even later. In this chapter we'll learn about booleans and conditional expressions.

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Introduction to OCaml, part 2

Last update: 2018-08-07.

Tags: programming, ocaml

In the previous chapter we've learnt how to use variables and arithmetic functions. Now it's time to learn how to make our own functions.

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Introduction to OCaml

Last update: 2018-08-06.

Tags: programming, ocaml

This post series started as a response to requests from some friends curious about OCaml. There are quite a few nice books already, but I realized that if I just recommend them any one of those books, it still will leave me with quite a few things to explain in depth, or force me to recommend another just to learn about that part. So I thought I may as well write something that hopefully will allow a person who already knows how to program in some other language get started with writing OCaml programs and continue learning on their own and find their own sources.

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Implementing sets with functions alone

Last update: 2018-04-12.

Tags: programming, ocaml

Implementation of sets using nothing but functions would be one of the first tricks in the “100 Fun Things to Do With Functions and Closures” book if that book existed. It may not be very practical, but it may help people get into the functional mindset. We'll use OCaml for demonstration.

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Hello from a compiler-free x86-64 world

Last update: 2018-04-07.

Tags: programming, assembly

I've stumbled upon two posts where Jessica McKellar demonstrates how to make a C program on Linux without using libc. They were written in 2010 when 32-bit x86 was far from extinct though, and use the old 32-bit ABI—a problem most examples of low level programming on UNIX-like systems suffer from, even if it's not their fault.

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Installing Python package data by relative path

Last update: 2018-04-02.

Tags: programming, python

Package data installation sometimes requires balance between ease of writing installation procecures for it and ease of accessing that data. That's especially apparent when someone who is not a developer wants to be able to edit that data in place. Editing it in place is a bad practice of course, but sometimes that's just what you get. For example, if there are two people of whom one is a developer who wrote code solely from data format specification, and the other understands what the data actually means but has no coding skills.

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Duck typing

Last update: 2018-02-21.

Tags: programming, python, ocaml

So called “duck typing” is often poorly explained and thus often misunderstood. Its name and the adage associated with it (“if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck”) don't do it any favors either.

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