I'm one of the creators of Carbide, and I'm really excited to share it with you all.
We're thinking of releasing Carbide as open source in the coming weeks if there's a community interested in building stuff on top of it.
One of the areas we'd appreciate help with is adding support for different languages— Python, Scala, Haskell, Rust, etc.
Other than that, general feedback / questions welcome.
We've scrabling to turn off jet-engine mode on the website :)
Do you have any strategies for that, or is the idea that these features are really only for testing functions that don't cause those sorts of side effects?
So you do all your manipulations and then hit a "Save" button at the bottom which triggers the save to disk.
Similarly if your input depends on a side effect (web resource?) You place a button on the top which will "start" your program.
Of course, the programming environment can offer primatives (debouncing and the like) to help make this stuff easier.
I think this sort of highly interactive environment is best suited for languages without side effects at all.
I.e. purely functional language as you see it in a spreadsheet.
Allowing any language (JS, Python and so on) gives problems with how to handle errors, show variable values that change over time, how to handle programs that take a long time to evaluate (or never evaluates), how to handle programs that modify the environment (i.e env.x = env.x + 1) and so on.
In order to inspect an expression, we have to be able to take the document, parse it into an abstract syntax tree, determine branches which are expressions, and annotate them so that a code generator can wrap it in some log invocation.
It'd be great if it were possible to apply "one simple trick" and support a hundred different languages all at once, but in this case I don't think the existing abstractions really suffice.
Sorry about the naysayers. Please remember that most of us on this forum are wannabes trying to one-up each other to make up for our failures. Don't blame us, we're all humans... :(
1. Who invested this product?
2. What are it's key features that are missing today in IDE's?
3. What was your primary motivation etc.
It will be nice to hear the backstory.
I'll be hitting refresh until you do :)
It looks like y'all are really aiming for Bret Victor-style direct manipulation, which is a bit more ambitious, but Tonic has incorporated some similar ideas, including time-traveling debugging, and it seems like there's a lot of overlap around the more basic features, like the automagical approach to packaging and the data visualization stuff.
One aspect of Tonic that I find really interesting is the attention they've paid to reproducibility.
Traditional notebook programming environments (Mathematica and Jupyter) are sensitive to the order of execution of the cells, which often makes it kinda hard to reproduce results. This stems from the fact that cells are used for two things— controlling what gets executed, and as a means for visualizing output.
As far as I'm aware, Tonic is designed so that there is only one way that a program can execute, so there's any notebook is automatically trivially reproducible. This has the side effect of making every notebook essentially equivalent to a single file which is evaluated in-order. Essentially, they've made it so cells only mediate what output is displayed, and not what gets executed.
Carbide takes the opposite approach— leaving cells to only control what gets executed, and introducing something else (probes) to visualize output within a cell.
No promises, but I can't get experimenting without source. Wink :).
 I don't want to share production keys with Yet Another SaaS
What is the need that it meets or problem that it solves?
Who are the first champion users who will feel compelled to use this?
What's involved in writing language support? I'm probably sticking with Emacs for the day-to-day, but I might be interested in writing Scheme support.
One pet peeve about the site, please consider adding a "Who" section or note. One of the first things I look for in an interesting site or project is the "human face" of it, so to speak.
I'm really interested in things like Carbide, and I'm finding it inspirational as a user interface experiment. But I'll be sticking with Jupyter for the time being on my current project — I think we would be kind of dumb to build stuff we cared about on top of it if it's not open source; without open source, you don't have a community, you just have consumers.
FWIW the jet-engine mode is still active on my laptop now.
"Our roadmap" is a link, but does not work… There however is a "Future" section near the page bottom, with screenshots that indicate support for Python, MIT Scheme, and something called Watlab.
> Carbide is a new kind of programming environment which (as obligatory in this day and age):
> • Requires no installation or setup
The first analogy that came to my mind is that this is a similar environment to Wolfram Alpha but more focused on experimenting around with programming concepts.
$ conkeror https://alpha.trycarbide.com
Category: DOM Core
I'd suggest enabling core dumps and sending those to the Conkeror team, assuming there's no bug filed for that.
I fix the page ASAP to prevent the segfault and then file a bug to the browser developers. If I don't, I lose the customer and somebody else will fix the page anyway, maybe not filing the bug because it doesn't make money.
That seems like an unlikely amount of effort. IME If you have some "enterprise" tool with enterprise clients, there's typically going to be a list of browsers which are supported and tested by QA.
It isn't always possible, and in that case we do blame the browser in the end, but it usually is possible to work around it. It's ugly, but it's necessary to keep your customers happy.
Apple's been moving in a similar direction with Swift playgrounds, and recent Java IDEs (IntelliJ, and I think Eclipse) will display the values of variables next to the line of code when you pause in the debugger. These are both useful features. They get cluttered really quickly, though, and in the playground case take you out of your normal development flow.
If you want this to be impactful, focus on delivering information at your fingertips without delivering information overload. The core idea of being able to inspect & manipulate run-time values alongside the code that generates them is sound. The implementation - with lots of fancy gadgets that overshadow the code itself - needs some design love.
Wait, no, that can't be. Maybe the future of programming for a subset of tasks (like UI programming). What I'm doing in 95% of my time does not benefit at all with 'visual programming'. Displaying values when you stop the debugger is completely different and also quite limited in my case, because I'm working with distributed systems, heavily multithreaded programs, etc. -- as many-many other devs. In these cases, this kind of visual programming doesn't make too much sense (or I can't see how it would).
Visualization is a very 'local' thing, it helps you understand the narrow context of what you're working on, but when working with large systems, you need to have the map in your head. Or something like that.
(Note: I think this is cool, I'm just arguing with the notion that this is the future of programming. It's a bit like saying that the future of mathematics is gnuplot. :) )
a.) Looking at data graphs to understand the "shape" of my data, eg. plugging a distribution into Weka, Matplotlib, or Kibana.
b.) Looking at examples of this data, eg. running a SQL, Dremel, or ElasticSearch query or visiting a source website.
c.) Inspecting the state of my UI, eg. via React DevTools or Chrome Inspector.
d.) Looking at the internal state of my algorithms, eg. if I'm writing a parser, which state in the state machine am I in, what's my current input token, and why does the code think that it should switch to a state other than the one I expect?
Even for distributed systems, this stuff is important. I spent 5 years at Google, and the best distributed systems engineers there never went with their intuition, they measured. Google had some wonderful tools to trace & visualize the set of RPCs that would be kicked off by a user request, including all latencies and where the critical path lay. I really miss having them now, and distributed systems work would be much easier if that information was inline with your function calls.
I believe that these categories of work - data science, distributed systems, increasingly stateful UIs - will become increasingly important in the software industry of the next 10-15 years, so yes, I do think this is "the future" of programming. It won't be everywhere, and it will take time to figure out how to represent this in a way that's useful and reduces development friction, but it'll be an increasing growth industry.
This reasoning is equivalent to "a car is great for getting across town, but if you're travelling long distances you need to have a horse-drawn vehicle".
Just because the current wave of "visual programming" approaches (which are taken directly from Bret Victor, who works on these types of programming issues, with little if anything added) only solve problems associated with more UI-centred tasks, doesn't mean they have to stay there.
If you're able to keep a mental map of the system structure in your head it means it can be visualised in some way. I agree completely it needs to be done in a way that is context-specific (which is why the current solutions wouldn't help you, as they're not specific to your context).
It's interesting that you're bringing this up, though, as there's clearly room for expansion of this for programming situations that aren't things centred around stuff like UI. I'd actually love to see a visualisation specifically tailored to multithreaded programming
As an aside, a subsequent project in the lab called Polaris, built on the same system, became the precursor to Tableau (a business intelligence tool).
The power of visualization is that it can take abstract data and map it to visual features that our visual system can make sense of automatically without much cognitive load. An example I often like to give - imagine you were searching through my comment to count the number of 'e' letters. You would have to perform a linear scan. But now imagine the 'e's were red. You would almost instantaneously be able to jump from 'e' to 'e' and count them.
Yeah quick visual decoding definitely needs to be the point of any visualisation. Its core intent should be to impart clarity, particularly when it comes to large datasets, because unlike machines we just can't process a lot of data in its raw form.
Sadly, many visualisations seem to miss this and sometimes even further complicate things.
While contextual information is also important, a lot of different abstract data types can be mapped to a fairly basic set of chart types (bar graphs, line charts, and scatter plots can handle most categorical/numerical/temporal combinations). For example, in the memory stall example above, there are only 2 types of visualization - bar charts and the source code views, yet in combination they provide various projections of a 5 dimensional space ('code position' x 'memory address' x 'processor' x 'metric[memory stall time]' x 'time'). The main issue is there is no easy tool to quickly construct/deconstruct multiple different projections of a high-dimensional space with linkage between them (here's a 2007 survey - http://www-devel.cs.ubc.ca/~tmm/courses/533-11/readings/cmvs...)
That linking logic is an interesting point though... you almost need a Flow-like system that can link the data display of one visualisation to another (or all the others). A tool like that would be very useful.
Some really good ideas in there - I was pretty impressed.
> (...) without delivering information overload (...)
This is something I guess I'm of opposite opinion to you. I love the ideas Carbide shows, but for the "future of programming", I want those to be tools, not toys. The concept of information overload is something that shows up when your primary focus is selling something to people, as opposed to build something actually useful for them.
Consider e.g. the cockpit of an airplane, or a dashboard in a powerplant. Those are cases of - by modern UX standards - extreme information overload. But they are so "cluttered" for a reason - the user has to make a bigger investment initially to learn what is where, but then he's capable of much more efficient work. For the same reason, Tufte argues good information graphics are data-dense - if your goal is to learn or explore the data, it's better to have it all visible simultaneously.
Not a chance: Carbide still relies on textual programming languages.
What's the most popular programming environment in the world? Spreadsheets, which are visual.
If you want billions of new people to be doing "programming", then the Unix-based, textual programming paradigms we use today aren't going to cut it. Most people cannot "blindly manipulate symbols" in their head (as Bret Victor memorably put it), and Carbide doesn't change that fundamental fact.
It's nice to see people doing something new (I'm all for innovation), but let's not kid ourselves that this is a game changer that will bring new programmers into the fold.
This is not something I want; if a product I use is available only via a web site and the company goes under, the product goes away with it. If it's installed on my hard drive, I can keep using the product.
My bookmarks and bookmark toolbar are littered already. If I could download it I'd have more of a chance of being reminded to see it and use it. Plus I'd feel it'd be more secure, and I'd be able to work when offline (e.g. commuting/travelling), so I wouldn't use it for those reasons.
It looks like it has some interesting ideas though (I especially like the look of the nested debugging thing with probes).
There's... a lot happening here though. What does:
> Comments live in a Rich Text sidebar #LiterateProgramming
mean? I played around with some samples and it seems that there's a method for displaying text or something?
I was hoping it'd be an inline `// yeah I know doing +1 looks wrong but it's because` --> automatic transcribing over to a sidebar but I don't know what's actually happening.
> Imports modules automatically from NPM or GitHub
mean? Does it mean "import" in the sense that you don't have to write the import statement, or in the `npm install` sense? What happens if I misspell a package name and there is a malicious package under that name? Will it auto install and auto run the post install scripts??
The best literate programming environment around is emacs org mode and it's plenty text. I'm pretty sure Bjarne Stroustrup would be a plaint text kind of guy.
Closing page and things quieted down. Resource intensive indeed!
Is this like Jupyter or built with Jupyter tech?
So for me, I'd only try yet another IDE if I have enough confidence that it will live long enough. The commitment of the original team is of course a big factor, but as was seen with LightTable and other projects, that can change quickly. So I would require that either
- it is commercial and has enough investment/backing,
- it is open-sourced and gets enough dev uptake quickly, or
- I believe so much in the concept that I'd try it even if the other two points are not satisfied.
Speaking of functionality, however, there isn't any mention of refactoring capacities. To me, that's probably the #1 feature why I'd use an IDE instead of just an editor in the first place. I'd consider the in-place partial debugging display only as a nice add-on, but nothing I would throw out a mature IDE with proper refactoring, search (for definitions, references) and other typical IDE functionality for.
That Carbide was exactly what I thought of when I read the tile. Many mixed memories from my kind-of-later Nokia days. ;)
Kudos to the team behind the current one though. Looks great so far!
PS: Not only .c++, but also .j and a theme editor, Carbide.ui
Does it literally do gradient descent on the input to try to match the output (as is suggested by the backpropagation terminology?) Can it handle discrete valued outputs?
I guess this can only really be expected to work well when there is a input that perfectly matches the output in a convex neighborhood of the starting point. Pretty cool!
Looks like they also have support for a few other types of data, but it's not described in the documentation. Apparently there is support for the backwards computations on strings, nested objects, and you can declare inverses for functions. There's also something mysterious called "cascading approaches".
I'm super interested to know more about how this works!
Second - I'm at a loss for exactly what it does. Sorry. I get the 1000 mile-high view, and I get some of the super specific examples. But I'm not sure how it applies to most js progamming which is much more mundane than the very specific examples given.
Maybe you could add a section that takes a much more 'basic' introductory approach?
Again, great work.
Like whats the purpose of using this as opposed to vim and a browser?
And what do they mean that it requires no installation or setup? Is it not a native program?
How does one use this to give it a try?
None of this was clear after a few reads through that page.
This almost always means that it's entirely in-browser.
Have you researched the name?
I agree with the sentiment that the website could be a bit more comprehensive. I saw "requires no installation" immediately, but then I started looking for a link to actually try it out and couldn't find it. And only then I realized that you can only try it on example notebooks. Or can I write my own code and I just didn't find the way to do it?
I tried a couple of example notebooks and unfortunately it was painfully slow to do anything. XOR network cell took some 5 seconds to process. Typing code was laggy, sliders took really long time to update etc. The C-Enter shortcut didn't work, I had to click the button with my mouse. So it seems like you have an awesome project, but it still needs some work.
Welp, there goes my interest.
> We haven't launched support for other programming languages yet (rest assured it's on our roadmap).
it's one thing to be short sighted, and another to be realistic given a bevy of similar past projects that went nowhere. When was the last time you heard about Lighttable?
I'm sure the Carbide guys will figure that out on their own.
"have no interest" and "use the IDE" are not the only two possible reactions here.
my point, for the most part. :)
Is there any way to use it offline? (I guess if it's open sourced then at the least, you could run it on a local web server.)
The goal was just to make a tool where small-scale data munching was easy (so you could get a plot of a small timeseries right now, no matplotlib, no ggplot2, no gnuplot: just having the variable on the screen meant the graph was there automatically) and as painless as possible. Of course, I didn't advance much because I needed to rewrite everything that I had working so it was easy to extend, and I found another shinier thing to work on... But that still sits in my "someday" code folder.
For now, Apache Zeppelin is almost there in terms of what I want, and has spark in it so...
If you can share, what was the shinier thing you found?
And from time to time I still think how I'd redesign my own thing from scratch yet again.
One of the things I've been thinking about lately is what are the languages that lend themselves to "true" livecoding. Like what if you want to change the class hierachy while you're already in a game and the objects are moving around? What if you wanna move a door in the in game editor mid-level but merge this edit back at the start of the level?
Turns out livecoding and live property editing interfaces are an entry into thinking about the next question: what are the abstraction and logic storage models that allow for very radical live coding changes as your app is still running and help you explore?
So far I have liked the idea of prototype inheritance but with the objects stored in a reduxy immutable situation. It seems to get at both the functional and OO side of the "expression problem."
I think every language should have something like this. Now that we've been compiling and highlighting errors in real time for such a long time, it only makes sense to do the same at run time and provide real time visualization of the program in action.
The memory of Symbian C++ makes me shudder.
I have to say that there are also some nice memories from that time mixed in too. At least in my case. :)
BTW, there were also Carbide.j and Carbide.ui
For applications I have no expectations that these kinds of systems scale up or give the touted wins. But they are great for easing the exploration process.
Maybe 'try out an example' button at the top?
But saving to public gists, no thanks.
What sorts of use cases were you envisioning?
Would it work or make sense for ad hoc mongo querying?