Saturday, September 30, 2006

CAL User's Guide posted

I have just posted the CAL User's Guide here.

The CAL User's Guide is a general guide to the CAL language. It is designed to be easy to read, even for developers new to the functional paradigm, and has the following sections:
1. Getting Started with CAL
2. Language Reference
3. Standard Library Reference
4. Appendices (conventions, style guides, etc.)

This material is provided for the continued purpose of seeding some information on the Quark Framework for Java and generating feedback and discussion to help us in our planning regarding the future of this technology. So, once again, we would be delighted to receive feedback, questions or comments.


Anonymous said...

This looks fascinating. I'm a Java programmer (SOA, ESB, yada yada) and the idea that I could write my code in something like Haskell (which I have used only in unpaid work) brings a smile to my face.

Incidentally, I searched for more info and found your comments on the Haskell mailing list. I was surprised by the relatively mute response there - I do find that many things "Java related" are sneered at in academic computing circles at the moment (I guess it's a backlash of some kind).

I'm not so sure about the GUI builder (but, being a linux user, like many Java developers, I can't see the videos), although I was thinking today that maybe we would present the highest level business logic and then let our "client" configure the system via that kind of interface.

Anyway, please please release this under some kind of open source licence.

One final question - when you say "Business Objects" is this the big software company that produces crystal reports etc, or somethig else?

Andrew Cooke

Luke Evans said...

Yes, this is the same Business Objects that makes Crystal Reports. We don't host any kind of blogging on our public servers at the moment, but I needed to have a place where I could make rapid updates for announcements and engage in discussion. So, hence setting up here for a bit.

I think many people would get a lot from watching the videos, so I'm looking for a way to do something better. I think I might simply transcode them to a format suitable for Linux users and post them as downloads. I was disappointed with my (various) attempts to get Google Video to work (the content does include rather small text - not really what Google Video was designed for I'd imagine).

We find the Gem Cutter (if that is what you are referring to as the "GUI builder") is great for:
- Teaching/learning
- Exploration and orientation on new problems
- Testing

It seems to be primarily used as a 'laboratory' for exploring problems and thinking about initial components of a solution. I regularly see it up on people's screens at the beginning of a project. Once some foundational ideas are established, most developers eschew graphical languages for the directness of textual syntax.

One of the great things about the functional paradigm is how your initial prototypes more naturally turn into your 'production' code. The richer type system and finer granularity of the pieces that carry these precise types, often means that you have to work harder at the beginning in your "dialogue with the compiler", but your having been rather more precise in describing the elements of your solution really pays back later on. The Gem Cutter definitely helps with that early part, where you 'chat' with the compiler frequently using different ideas as you explore your problem. You get to enjoy very tight "design-run" iterations, and I like the way the feedback of the interactive typing (tooltips on inputs and outputs) allows the compiler to give you insights about the problem as you go along.

Anonymous said...


Sorry about the misleading phrase "GUI builder" - when I wrote that I didn't realise that it could mean "a builder of GUIs" as well as (more likely than) "a GUI for building [stuff]"!

IMHO you should make it clearer that this has the backing of (the well-known company) Business Objects, because it looks a little like a personal project, and people in "industry" are much more likely to trust it with in the former case (although I suspect you're in a catch 22 of needing to display interest before they will give you support - something I sypathise with; perhaps they will read this and understand that they need to be a little more pro-active themselves.... :o)


Luke Evans said...

Yes, the problem is that this is somewhat unprecedented for Business Objects. For, one thing, we don't sell these sort of developer tools per se, for another we are only just getting our public "Labs" site up and running, and at the moment we have no easy way to have any kind of public dialogue about this kind of thing - short of external mailing lists and private conversations with people. Hence this blog.

Now, some of this will be resolved when we deliver an alpha version through the regular Business Objects Labs site, as intended. Until then, we really are just trying to seed some information and get a some early feedback. We're expecting to get rather more of the latter when people can download and try the Quark framework for themselves.

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