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Frink (futureboy.us)
84 points by Tomte 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

I enjoy reading the comments in Frink's units definition file, which I'm pretty sure I discovered via an old link from HN.


I particularly recommend checking out hertz and candela.

The one thing I want to see in a programming language readme is a code sample. What does it do? The author recognizes that:

> Perhaps you'll get the best idea of what Frink can do if you skip down to the Sample Calculations further on this document.

But I never saw that because it was a normal text link in the second paragraph, and because the table of contents is so long I assumed it was the entire document.

There should be at least one sample calculation higher up, with a link to the others, under its own heading called "What you can use Frink for".


>Frink also has a tendency to over-complicate simple matters and use or invent scientific terminology while expressing various concepts, e.g. "Father and I got along like positrons and antineutrinos!" or "microcalifragilistics".

I wrote a similar tool that uses the same unit database (from GNU units) but is open source, has a somewhat better online interface [1] and a crappier app [2]

[1]: https://phiresky.github.io/qalc-react/ [2]: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.github.phir...

Frink is a mainstay on my phone, despite its not being open source - I make an exception because it's so darn useful. I don't use its programming features, though - it's kind of hard to be bothered with a weird language on a phone, even if unit-awareness is a great feature.

On desktop, for calculation and unit-conversion, I've completely replaced it with Qalculate, which doesn't have a programming language but does have a symbolic solver built-in, which is surprisingly useful for general calculations: you don't have to rearrange your calculation so the unknown is by itself, you can just write the equation from your textbook and replace the thing you want to know with 'x'.

Frink's "Sample Calculations" segment is an amusing read, in much the same ticklish way as xkcd's "What-if" series.

I use ncalc+ on my phone which is a pleasant to use simple opensource calculator with symbolic capability when you need it.

I wasn't able to find what the value proposition of Frink is compared to Soulver, other than the more-difficult UI.

Frink is a full-fledged programming language, so you can read data from files, write functions, access web-based data, repeat calculations, process text, create data structures, etc.

In short, it is a Turing-complete system. Soulver isn't, and that's a huge difference.

Soulver is MacOs/iOS only, and Frink works ~everywhere?

Is that the only value proposition? Given the apparent complexity of using Frink, I figured there should be some other upsides

Reminds me of Wolfram Alpha.

I would love this if it was open source

What does this do that mathcad doesn’t?

I use both. Frink is on my phone. I have SMath Studio (or Smath)on my phone, which is a MathCAD clone, and is now free even for commercial use [1].

I have a bunch of tools in my toolbelt from working in engineering for many years. I always recommend Frink, SMath Studio, and the J programming language among the many tools. I am a polyglot, and I find Frink's simplified Java easy to use for even creating an input window for applications I find myself using repetitively.

[1] https://en.smath.com/view/SMathStudio/summary

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