Ioke 0 roadmap

The first release of Ioke will be called Ioke 0, and I aim to have it more or less finished in a month or so. At the longest, it might take until Christmas. So, since it’s coming soon, I thought I would just put in a list of the kind of things I’m aiming to have in it at that release. I’ll also quickly discuss some feature I will have in the language but that’s going to be on Ioke I or Ioke II.

First, the first release of the language means that the basic core is there. The message passing works and you can create new things, methods and blocks. Numbers are in, but nothing with decimal points so far. If I need it for some of the other stuff I’m implementing, I’ll add them, otherwise integers might be the only numbers in Ioke 0. I’m OK with that. The core library will be quite small at this point too. Ioke 0 will be a usable language, but it’s definitely not batteries included in any way.

These are some specific things I want to implement before releasing it:

  • List and Dict should be in, including literal syntax for creation, aref-fing and aset-ting. Having syntax for aset means that I will have in place a simple version of setting of places, instead of just names.
  • Enumerable-like implementation for List and Dict.
  • DefaultMethod and LexicalBlock should support regular, optional, keyword and rest arguments. Currently only the rest arguments are missing, and this is mostly because I don’t have Lists yet.
  • Basic support for working with message instances, to provide crude metaprogramming.
  • The full condition system. That includes modifying the implementation to provide good restarts in the core. It also might include a crude debugger. Restarts are implemented, but the conditions will take some time.
  • cellMissing should be there. Contexts should be implemented in terms of it.
  • Basic IO functionality.
  • A reader (that reads Ioke syntax and returns the generated Message tree).
  • Access to program arguments.
  • IIk – Interactive Ioke. The REPL should definitely be in, and be tightly integrated with the main-program. I’m taking the Lisp route here, not the Ruby one. IIk will be implemented in Ioke, and should drive the evolution of several of the above features.
  • Dokgen – A tool to generate documentation about existing cells in the system. Since this information is available at run time it should be exceedingly easy to create this tool. Having it will drive features too.
  • Affirm – A testing framework written in Ioke. The goal will be to rewrite the full test suite of Ioke (which is currently using JtestR) into using Affirm instead. That’s going to happen between Ioke 0 and Ioke I.
  • Documentation that covers the full language, and some usage pointers.

There are some features I’m not sure about yet. They are larger and might prove to be too large to rush out. The main one of these is the Java integration features. Right now I’m thinking about waiting with that support.

I have loads of features planned for the future. These are the ones that I’m most interested in getting in there quite soon, which means they’ll be in either I or II.

  • Java Integration
  • Full ‘become’, with the twist that become will actually not change the class of an instance, but instead change an instance into the other instance. This is something I’ve always wanted in Ruby, and ‘become’ seems to be a fitting way to do it. This will make transparent futures and things like that quite easy to implement.
  • Common Lisp like format, that can handle formatting of elements in a List in the formatting language. Not sure I’m going to use the same syntax as Common Lisp, though. Maybe I’ll just make it into an extension of the printf support?
  • Simple aspects. Namely, it should be possible to add before, after and around advice to any cell in the system. I haven’t decided if I should restrict this to only activatable cells or any cell at all.
  • Ranges.
  • Macros. I’m not sure which version I’ll end up with yet. I have two ideas that might be more or less the same, but both of them are really, really powerful.
  • Simple methods. In Ioke, a method is something that follows a very simple interface. It’s extremely easy to create something that acts like a method in some cases but does something different. Simple methods are restricted in the kind of meta programming they can do, which means they can be compiled down to quite efficient code. This is a bit further away, maybe III or IV.
  • Continuations. I would like to have them. I think I can do it without changing to much of the structure. This is not at all a certainty at the moment, but it might happen.

That’s about it for now. Once I have the core language in place I want to start working on useful libraries around it. Once 0 is out, I’m planning to start using Ioke as my main scripting language, and have that drive what libraries I need to create and so on.

Around II or III, I think it’s time to go metacircular. Not necessarily for the implementation, but to describe the semantics in it. Might be possible to do something like SLang too, and compile Ioke to Java for the needed core.

If you are interested in following the development, you can check it out at my git repository at, or at the project pages at The Git repository is the canonical one right now, and the Kenai HG one is a clone of that. If you’re interested in discussion Ioke, there are mailing lists at the project pages. I also will have a real page for the project ready for the first release. But I promise you will notice when that release happens.

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. You understand this comment above? I think you don’t sleep too… :)

    November 3rd, 2008

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