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GorillaScript (ckknight.github.io)
145 points by jarek-foksa 1420 days ago | hide | past | web | 106 comments | favorite



Wow, some of these features sound really cool!

As a small complaint: After seeing about a dozen compile-to-JS languages, I don't care about the full list of features anymore. Please add a big note at the top saying how this is different from other compile to JS languages. Why save all the good stuff (typing, promises, currying) for the last half of this massive page?


I filed a issue for you on GitHub: https://github.com/ckknight/gorillascript/issues/100


I came here to say this.


I second that, just WOW. Someone wasn't satisfied with removing semicolons and curly braces and fixed the ENTIRE language instead. WOW!!


Holy cow. It's built on macros, and macro-friendly! And I can use it with the node.js ecosystem!

As a guy who built his own npm-installable macros.coffee, [0][1][2] I am torn.

I love macros enough that I felt I needed to have them in JS-family languages, which have few metaprogramming options outside of tricks on 'this', which is why, when I saw that CoffeeScript had clean syntax and a relatively clean AST, I made it my "learning node/npm" project to add them.

On the other hand, my project is simple because it depends on a fragile hack: running a deep-copy on a chunk of AST for 'quote'. It's a fragile hack that jashenkas could break with a single well-placed closure, and as I promised on my project page, "If you want to ... build a substantially more 'heavy-duty' implementation, I'll probably end up using yours." This isn't an implementation in CoffeeScript, but it's better -- it's actually built into the language (as macros work best as a core language component; once you have 'em, it's easiest to write your language with them).

I'll have to try out GorillaScript and see what it actually feels like to write code in the language, allowing for the fact that its syntax may not be as pretty as coffeescript yet. But I wouldn't be surprised to find myself using GorillaScript this time next year.

Macros++.

-----

0) github.com/mrluc/macros.coffee

1) http://mrluc.github.io/macros.coffee/docs/macros.html

2) https://npmjs.org/package/macros.coffee


Interesting work. Once I refactored GorillaScript to be pretty much fully macro-driven, it made everything super-nice to deal with. Every single syntax construct in GorillaScript is a macro, even `if` and all that stuff.


If anyone would like to look at the slides for a presentation I did on GorillaScript, here you go: http://ckknight.github.io/gorillascript-presentation/

In it, I discuss some of the design decisions. Sadly, there wasn't any video, so I don't actually go in-depth in the slides themselves.


This looks like CoffeeScript had a baby with Rust, and I'm seriously tempted to switch from the former for my latest project. It has all features for which I am still considering adding specialist libraries to CS (promises, macros, and a bunch of ES6 stuff.) Insanely great work! The latter parts of the slides where one slide == one feature helped me have a feel for the language better than the text docs.


I would prefer some compiled JavaScript ECMAScript 6 that and could be compiled into compatible JS. So I can use all the goodness like classes and iterators. Without having to deal with polyfills.

Please somebody...


TypeScript enhancements outside of the types just track ECMA6. It does not have backwards-compatible iterators yet though, and you will probably have to wait a while.


https://github.com/google/traceur-compiler

Requires a runtime, though.


It can be precompiled but it has not been optimized to do so: https://github.com/google/traceur-compiler/issues/307 It seems the project is not very active.


It requires a runtime even after compiling: https://github.com/google/traceur-compiler/wiki/CompillingOf...

> The code generated by Traceur depends on a small runtime library containing Javascript code for things like creating classes, handling spread arguments, etc. To use code compiled from Traceur, you'll need to include that too.


That doesn't sound so bad if it works well, though, right? Kind of like including jQuery so you get cross-browser code.



Massive work.congratulation for achieving this.

My main concerne is with optionnal typing ( which is my only real concern with javascript at the moment ) : it says that types are checked at runtime.

Does this mean i still have to run unit tests that goes into all my code before i can be sure i don't have a type error ?


Yes, you would, at least in the current state of things. I do plan on adding some compile-time checking (without getting in the way), but it's not there yet.


While this is an interesting effort, I can't help but be squeamish about the sheer volume of JS that gets emitted (due to type checking) for what seem like small amounts of input.


type-checking and such features can be easily disabled by sticking

const DISABLE_TYPE_CHECKING = true

at the top of your file. It's handy to have in development vs. production.


Wait, the type checking isn't static?


Currently, no. I do plan on adding warnings (not errors) on a statically-calculated type issue. One thing is that I don't plan on it erroring if you call a function with a value whose type might be an "any" type or a "union" where it expects a specific type. If there's some overlap, it would allow, to make things easier and give the programmer the benefit of the doubt.

Thus, the following would compile without warning:

    let double(x as Number) x * 2
    let repeat(x as String) x & x
    let fun(x as Number|String)
      if is-number! x
        double x
      else
        repeat x
    let fail(x as Boolean)
      // this should fail at compile-time
      double x
I could write the compiler to be a lot smarter and have it track types through conditional branches (which would be very hard, but possible), or allow it in those cases where it is possible that the types overlap.

I also might add a "cast", i.e. a runtime type check. I'm not sure what the best syntax for it would be, but it would act like the following:

    CAST(x, Number) // validate that x is a Number or throw a TypeError
    CAST(x, Number|String) // validate that x is either a number or a string, otherwise throw TypeError
    CAST(x, Number, 0) // validate that x is a Number, otherwise evaluate to 0.
Of course, in the cases where `x` could not fit the type requested, then that could error at compile-time.

I would love some feedback on this, especially from the perspective of "what would I use to help me develop", not "I need my program to be 100% statically type-safe without having to do any testing".


The feeling of it reminds me a bit of Erlang's success typing, but I don't know enough to say much more.


Wow, I wish this is what coffeescript was. This has most of the niceties of coffeescript and adds immutability, types, and macros.

I will end up sticking with TypeScript though for anything at work since the type system has more capabilities right now and it is just Javascript with types so it is very simple to use for those with Javascript experience.


What do you mean when say that you wish CoffeeScript was this? I mean GorillaScript exists, so if you prefer it to CoffeeScript then use it rather than CoffeeScript.


The difference is that CoffeeScript has a massive amount of mindshare, integrations, and tooling. GorillaScript may be better than CoffeeScript but that doesn't mean that it's even remotely close in terms of day-to-day usability. Because CoffeeScript got there first (and was decent) it's got a huge head start on ANY other competitor.


Yes, but that's like saying Perl got there first before Python or Ruby. GorillaScript, CoffeeScript, TypeScript, etc. all basically use Javascript as a platform, and there should be room for all of them in the long run. (Or, at least room to let the market sort out which ones they like the best).

BTW, this got me thinking: are the Javascript envine vendors (V8, etc.) doing anything to make it easier to write languages like GorillaScript or CoffeeScript? Or is it all up to the language designers?


They have made serious effort with developer tooling, especially with Source Maps.


With such a kitchen-sink list of features, I can't believe he left out named parameters (seriously) and refinements (sarcastically).

Though this is definitely the best compile-to-JS language and I'd choose to use it if I'll ever feel safe enough using anything else than plain Javascript.


For named parameters, this is the best one can do in JavaScript without constructing a fully static type analyzer:

let use-named({ name, age }) ->

use-named(name: "ckknight", age: 25)

For refinements, what are you referring to?


Ah, destructuring is so sweet!

You're right, it's no real need for it and it's unfeasible because you need to either (a) fully static type analyze everything or (b) what anonymous just explained... and they're both out of the question.

The refinements thing was a joke, in the spirit of what else can one add: it's a controlled form of monkeypatching / classboxing about which a lot of fuss was made in the Ruby community after Matz decided to add it to the language (http://timelessrepo.com/refinements-in-ruby), mainly because it's very hard to implement without creating more problems, even if you have your own interpreter to hack on (short answer: don't bother looking about it and even if you're smart enough to figure out a way to add it to a compile-to-JS language, don't waste your effort on it - they're not an anti-feature and they could make sense in languages that allow monkeypatching, like JS and Ruby, but they're too much work for too little benefit and too much possibility for bad use and unneeded complexity).


Actually, here's a better example, if you want defaults.

Also nice is that it doesn't have to create a full defaults object at runtime, and each binding would only be evaluated if individually needed:

    let func-with-named-params({
      id as String // TypeError if not a String
      metadata // don't care about type, defaults to void
      seed as Number = get-random-seed() // requires a Number, only calls function if not provided.
    }) ->
You can do all sorts of things with object destructuring.

Yeah, Refinements seem like a similar thing to extension classes in .NET where methods defined somewhere else affect a class but only if included, without polluting the globals.

The only possible way I could see supporting something like this is with a different method call operator, so something like:

NOTE: The following is theoretical code. It does not work in GorillaScript 0.9.x, but might be implemented if there is enough positive feedback for it.

    refinement String
      def repeat(count as Number)
        if count < 1
          ""
        else if count < 2
          this
        else if count bitand 0b1 // if it's odd
          this->repeat(count - 1) & this
        else
          (this & this)->repeat(count bitrshift 1)
    
    // and used as such:
    "Hello "->repeat(5) == "Hello Hello Hello Hello Hello "
    // would turn into this code:
    String_$_repeat("Hello ", 5)
    
    let unknown(x)
      // This would throw a compile-time error, as x's type
      // would be unknown. It would have to be a single
      // named type that has a refinement defined, either at
      // the top of the file or with an import.
      x->repeat(5)
Also, refinements could have macros on them, so one could do

    "Hello"->for-code-point point, index
      // This is a body in a macro defined as "for-code-point" on a String refinement.
      do-something(point)
So, this would be a nice way to have refinements, but have the terrible downside of requiring the type to be statically known.

You could also define a refinement on a union type or even an object type, such as the following:

    refinement Array|{ length: Number }
      // define a getter, why not?
      def get median()
        this[this.length \ 0]
      
      macro loop
        syntax item as Identifier, index as (",", index as Identifier)?, body as Body
          index ?= @tmp \i
          AST
            let mutable $index = 0
            while $index < @length, $index += 1 // it knows that `@length` is a Number, no need to type checking
              let $item = this[$index]
              $body

      def each(callback)
        // look, we're using the macro we just defined!
        this->loop value, index
          callback value, index
The refinement namespace would not conflict with the normal invocation namespace, so you could have `"Hello".same()` and have it be exactly as expected, but `"Hello"->same()` not, because it would turn into `String_$_same("Hello")` (or something like it).

To clarify before, the following would work:

    refinement Number
      // automatically knows it returns a Number
      def log(base as Number = Math.E)
        Math.log(this) / Math.log(base)
    
    let alpha = 1e100->log(10) // knows that 1e100 is a Number, obviously, and since ->log returns a Number, alpha is automatically known to be a Number.
    let bravo = alpha->log(10) // knows alpha is a Number, etc.
    let charlie = Math.pow(2, 10)->log(2) // since we know Math.pow returns a Number, we're good.
    let delta as Number = some-library.some-unknown-method()
    let echo = delta->log() // we specifically declared delta as a Number, so we can use ->log
    
    let foxtrot = [1, 2, 3]->median // Array subtypes from { length: Number }
    let golf = "hotel"->median // Hey, so does String!
    let india = arguments->median // And so does Arguments
    let juliet = { length: 4, 2: \kilo } // And so does this custom type
    let lima as { length: Number } = some-outside-source()
    let mike = lima->median
    // assuming I come up with a "cast" operator, i.e. type-
    // check with error or default value
    // this would allow a String, Array, etc., would check
    // at runtime (but not in production, with
    // DISABLE_TYPE_CHECKING set to true)
    let november = (some-outside-source() as { length: Number })->median
    // require that the result is an array, otherwise
    // evaluate to []. The default could be an expensive
    // operation that is only executed when necessary.
    let oscar = (some-outside-source() as Array = [])->median

    // unknown is of the "any" type, representing all
    // possible values, including null and void.
    let unknown = some-library.some-other-method()
    // Since unknown isn't at least { length: Number }, we
    // don't know that ->median should map to our refinement
    // { length: Number }->median and thus cannot be used
    // without casting.
    let wrong = unknown->median
I dunno, something to think about. Would people want to have this feature?


I'm guessing he had in mind this (very controversial) feature that was proposed for Ruby 2.0 and then scaled back: http://www.rubyinside.com/ruby-refinements-an-overview-of-a-....


Named parameters would be a good addition, but I wonder how feasible it is to implement. If the signature of the function is known at compile-time it's trivial, but what about expressions like `a.b.c.foo(x=2, y=3)`? You'll need some sort of trampoline which takes the function to call, the value of this, a list of the unnamed parameters and a dictionary of the named parameters, then use reflection on the function to call to construct a list of arguments for .apply; and I'm not sure if javascript saves the names of the function's parameters to be available for reflection. Meaning each defined function might have to be an object lugging around some __signature property and named parameters would only work for your own functions.


> I'm not sure if javascript saves the names of the function's parameters to be available for reflection

Yes an no. YOu can't access it directly, but if you call toString() on a function you'll get is source code as a string so you can parse it.

Prototype do that to handle the special $super parameter [0]. But most modern minifier rename function parameters and local variables, so it's not a good idea.

[0] https://github.com/sstephenson/prototype/blob/master/src/pro...


1 & 2 == "12" - Now THAT I call unexpected behavior. :-/

Interesting language though.


In what way is that unexpected, given then & is string concatenation?


& is normally (= in C) a bitwise operator, not a string concatenation. Especially looking strange for me when it makes a string out of two numbers.


I never claimed for GorillaScript to be a C-like language, because at its core, stripped of syntax, JavaScript is not a C-like language.

It more resembles LISP with its macros and closures with nice syntax built around those concepts.

I tried to make all the operators match their closest arithmetic, mathematical equivalents. Thus using `^` for exponent and `+` for addition. Since JavaScript does not support bitwise operators cleanly, needing to cast to int32 and generally being disued, I felt they could be better aliased with `bit`, freeing up those operators. Since string concatenation needed some operator as a building block for string interpolation, the freed-up `&` was a ripe candidate for it.

That all said, string interpolation is the typical use case for creating strings, so feel free to just use that if possible. Anything more than that and you might need a templating engine.


What do you think about not using any operator (but space+"") for concatenation and using a syntax like this:

    var 1   = 5+5 // I would expect: Error 0-9 cannot be used as a variable
    var foo = "Hello " "Bob!" "\nAre you there?"
    var bar = "Hello " 1

    console.info(1) // throw error and refer to var 1

    console.info(foo)
    "Hello Bob!
    Are you there?"

    console.info(bar)
    "Hello 1"


Juxtaposition as an operator is already used by function invocation, e.g.

    f "Hello"
If f were a string, how would I know I wanted to concat it instead of calling?


By not making () optional. Honestly I get why people hate curly braces, but parenthesis are important, removing them makes a new language hard to understand, making it optional makes the language (horrible or) simply weird and non-deterministic.

There is ZERO technological or efficiency related benefit in making () optional, it just makes your grammar parser more complex and slows down compile/interpretation time.

If I would have time and no specs given, then I would write a compiler for Sanskrit. It's one of the oldest languages and as accurate as AI Agent languages. Really accurate. Just google for "Sanskrit Artificial Intelligence" and you will find very interesting publications. Here's something by NASA: http://www.vedicsciences.net/articles/sanskrit-nasa.html

Btw. I've written a simple language+vm in C already using bison,flex etc. Our Prof and other students made a custom CPU that runs on a custom OS made for this language called Ninja. A friend of mine extended it by Object Orientation later.


I realize you probably also wanted to answer OP, but let me just state that there was no real judgement intended. I am not a C-programmer, it was meant as an explanation.

> Thus using `^` for exponent and `+` for addition

That is good in my eyes.


"a" + "b" == "ab" is an unexpected result for C.


Well, because '&' is probably not a very good choice for a concatenation operator since it has a very different meaning in most of languages. Most developers would overlook such an error.

Of course you can say that since it is defined as such, it's not a issue, but then we could say that any Javascript "Wat" behavior is also defined in the spec.


I would say that & is a fine choice (much better than +) for a concatenation operator. It allows numbers to be built like strings in an interesting way and keeps the meaning of the & consistent. It really is past times that every language needs to conform to the choices made by C.


+ has problems as string concatenation, but that doesn't make & a good choice. We still use a lot of C-ism's because people are used to them, and any deviations from C-like behavior, which at this point could be called "common behavior" just increases the learning curve and the cost of a context switch.

Personally, I like Perl's period(.) for string concatenation, but I think it can too easily get lost in the line, especially for more complex stuff.

     $foobar = "foo" . $bar->{'bar'}


Period has a general meaning of ending a sentence. At this point in our history, people willing to clear the deck of C-ism should be encouraged. I think the learning curve is worse when folks imitate C for no reason other than computer tradition as opposed to building something that feels tied together. We ditched a lot of older habits with C, we should continue the path.


& is not only a bitwise operator, but also a set arithmetic operator in many languages (Ruby and Python, for examples).


In production code, using & for string concat is pretty atypical, since you can use string interpolation: "$(alpha)$(bravo)"


I have always liked ~ for string concatenation. Looks like a little string tying the strings together, and hardly likely to be confused with the bitwise not operator.


I thought about it, but for the most part I used `~` as a way of referring to something in an unstrict way, e.g. `~+` doesn't typecheck, it just adds and auto-coerces both operands to a number.

I didn't want to have `~` mean string concat because it overloads the semantic meaning of what `~` would represent.

I actually stole `&` from VB, as well as `\` as floor division.


Where is a ~ used for string concatenation?


D uses it too. I think they use it for array concatenation as well.


Perl 6 does...I can't recall anywhere else, though.


I have no claim to be an experienced developer or so, just asking for opinions: doesn't this huge number of complex features implemented in modern programming language give you a feeling of something being wrong? And why?


No it doesn't. It gives you freedom to do things naturally, but you will only understand how to solve a problem naturally, when you've understood "programming in general" or "Computer Science", without specifics to a programming language.

To take fear away, you can easily create very very complex stuff with a single language feature. Think about QBASIC, one would think that you cannot do anything except some command-line programs with it. See the complete opposite: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2033318/black-annex-is-the-be...


You can make the same argument about "something being wrong" with a language like Scala.

Some people like "slim" languages like C, Go, Clojure, Python, others like "fat" ones like C++, D, Rust, Scala, CL. It's just a matter of taste. I tend to like the "slim" ones more but maybe a "fat" language is better suited to wrangle the browser-based-dev can of worms.


>> x and= y - Same as if x then x := y

I'm having trouble imagining when you'd need to do this. But oh well..

>> There is also a short syntax for single-word strings that also convert dashed-names to camelCase just as normal identifiers do.

I'd like to see an example of this. I don't think I quite understand what it's meant to do.

>> Binding access

I would have preferred: f@obj (arg1, arg2, arg3) for function application over: f@ (obj, arg1, arg2, arg3)

Other that that, I can certainly appreciate the huge amount of work involved in creating this and I wish them success.


and= isn't all that useful, I agree, but it would be odd to leave out given that there's or=, ?=, ownsor=, etc.

\alpha-bravo-charlie == "alphaBravoCharlie"

Well, since GorillaScript doesn't require parentheses for invocation, you'd need to have some delimiter between the context and the arguments or have to wrap one of them. Why not simply just use "," as the delimiter and then you can treat it as if doing .call/.apply?


> Well, since GorillaScript doesn't require parentheses for invocation, you'd need to have some delimiter between the context and the arguments or have to wrap one of them.

Well, I was trying to think why you'd even need a delimiter. I thought the absence of the comma between the context and the first argument would disambiguate:

  f@x (a, b, c)
would be written as:

  f@x a, b, c  // Comma between a and b
While:

  f@(x a) (b, c)
would be:

  f@x a b, c  // No comma between a and b


Then again, a call like:

  f@ a b c d, e
would be ambiguous, so on second thought I think you've made the right decision.

Heck, even the non-ambiguous cases seem easier to mentally parse with the comma there.

So I retract from what I said. I should have thought this through before posting.

Edit: I see you've also added the example of dashed-names to camelCase conversion to the page. Thanks, that helps. Edit2: formatting.


So overall this is an interesting take on Javascript. I like that much of it gets precompiled away (constants, etc). I'm not so fond of "&" being string concatenation. I like Perl6's "_" better, it reads well. Also:

> || - or, can no longer be used with and unless one group is in parentheses

Seriously? Do you require the "+" and "" operators to have parentheses around them? Why do people think order of operations is hard with "and" and "or"? I really* don't get it (and always turn off compiler warnings about that when working with C).

Also, "ownskey" is a bit of a mouthful. Why not ".?" ("?." would be "get key if object isn't null")?


Most of the time, string concatenation is unnecessary with interpolation: "$alpha $bravo" means alpha & " " & bravo.

The reason `and` and `or` are best in parenthesized groups is that it creates confusion in the precedences otherwise. asking someone what `alpha and bravo or charlie` means can be confusing if there's no obvious grouping (like a standard mathematical operator's) giving `and` more precedence than `or` or the other way around.

You actually can use `!.` as an "owns access", as used in `alpha!.bravo`, which means `if alpha ownskey \bravo then alpha.bravo`.

And yes, `?.` means an "existential access", as used in `alpha?.bravo`, turns into `if alpha? then alpha.bravo`.

You can also mix these with `?!.` and it works as expected. :)


The thing about "and" and "or" is that there is obvious grouping--it stems from boolean logic where there is an order of operations ('or' is like '+' and 'and' is like '\*'). There's really no excuse to pander to people that can't or won't memorize the order of operations for boolean logic.

BTW, I don't like coming across super critical, but this is a pet peeve of mine. This particular issue really gets under my skin (I always pass -Wnoparenthases to gcc). Overall I am very impressed with Gorillascript. I love the macros, the functional programming stuff and the basic terseness of it all.


Looks very interesting! The features that caught my attention are:

    * immutable values
    * cascades
    * try/catch/else/finally
    * promises
    * async
    * optional typing
    * curreid functions
    * generics


This seems to fix every small issue and even a few large ones that I had problems with in JS! It seems like it will be super easy to integrate with my current "build tools" for the few dynamic languages I run (built into Komodo as macros and plugins).

Heck, I could probably write the build tools plugins in Komodo WITH GorillaScript. Of course, not quite the same as a brand new self-hosted compiler, but I'd like to think that it's circular-referency is adequate to be in the vein of functional programming tradition :)

I was never excited about Coffeescript. This is JavaScript: The Good Parts And Even The Best Brand New Parts


I'm very happy you're excited about it. The best thing you could do for me now is to use GorillaScript to make something. Anything. Something big, something small, something with fancy features or minimal ones. I want you to think along the way "how could my life be easier?" "Better typing? Terser syntax? More verbose syntax? Easier async support? Some other fanciful feature?"

Then, file issues on the GitHub tracker with your ideas to make GorillaScript better for you. Or join us on IRC at irc.freenode.net at #gorillascript. I (ckknight, author of GorillaScript) try to be there as often as I can, but I do have a life outside of IRC, for now...


Why would I use this over coffeescript/underscorejs?


Yes I'd like to know too. As the top post mentions, the documentation really needs to hightlight the benefits over established popular libraries.


This seems like the Python of compile-to-JS languages in much the same way CofeeScript is the Ruby. Not a big fan of Python but I can see this becoming popular with Python WebDevs.

I kinda hope this doesn't become a trend though, every web development enviroment spawning its own compile-to-JS language. I feel that there are too many such languages already.


I think it's closer to "the Scala of compile-t-JS languages" :) ...last time I checked Python didn't have macros and syntax for currying, function composition, piping etc. and its TIMTOWTDI philosophy seems closer to Ruby.

Honestly, the macros section scared me out, especially the "there are five types of macro syntaxes" (...this is as far away from the pythonic way of doing things as one can get) but this seems the most promising compile-to-Js language I've seen.


Macros can be scary. The need for five different syntaxes is because in a non-homoiconic language, positioning and syntax matter, so having an infix operator would be defined differently from a call-like macro. They all act fundamentally the same, it's just how you define the syntax of how they are used that is the difference.


Python has functools.partial for currying. Not built into the syntax but in the standard lib.


Interesting, I would have said CoffeeScript was more pythonic than this. It certainly doesn't remind me of Ruby, and to the extent that it's a different syntax for JavaScript than a different language, scoping is different but in practice you don't notice things that are very different in Python.


Thats what I was thinking too. I would like to simply see Ruby/Python compile into JS instead. It has been done actually (not sure about Ruby) - don't know how well it performs though.


I feel it pretty much holds true when you try to compile any language that was designed without JavaScript in mind into JavaScript, the result is likely to be ugly and/or imperformant. (Not always, e.g. asm.js)

GorillaScript is designed to run with JavaScript semantics and be as efficient as possible (within reason), so that when you write something as simple as `x + y` in GorillaScript, it is efficient, even with unknown types, unlike Python which would need to check `__add__` or Ruby with its operators-as-methods system.

Also, since JavaScript is so different from so many languages with async-by-default, handle through callbacks or promises or something, being able to replicate something as compilicated as Python's GIL in JavaScript would be atrocious as compared to designing your code in a language that nudges you to write "good" JavaScript.


When using this for development, what is the workflow? I write something in GorillaScript, compile it and run it in the browser. Is there anything like (GS) source level debugging so that I don't need to figure out the correspondence between the GS source and the JS in order to, for example, set a breakpoint?


That is where source maps come into place. Not sure about support for GS though.


GorillaScript has full support for Source Maps, as any good compile-to-JS language should.


While this is actually really awesome, I think a lot of the nastiness of JS can be dealt with by using a good JSHint plugin for your text editor (that highlights errors/etc as they happen). Hoisting, function scope, ==, var, using variables without defining them, etc - it'll catch many things.


If I ever write JavaScript, then I definitely use JSHint. It doesn't help with some things such as immutable local bindings, type checking, not having to worry about hoisting, or any of the nice syntax features you get with GorillaScript, which is why I see the benefit.


Looks interesting.

The section on "Optional Typing" is too brief. Type inference is mentioned, but there are no details on how the type system functions and what a failure of type checking means. It seems one can't name types, which is odd and will lead to a great deal of repetition.


Types are allowed to be any of the primitive types (e.g. Boolean, Number, etc.), null, undefined, any custom "class", a specifically-typed array (e.g. [Number] for an array of numbers), or a specifically-typed object (e.g. {x: Number, y: String}). I do plan on being able to alias the typed object as an "interface", just haven't gotten around to that.

A failure of type checking generally means you get an early runtime error, though I plan on reworking things to catch more at compile-time (while still not being a pain).


How do types work with objects and classes? Can you subtype?


Yeah, class Child extends Parent


Dashed-identifiers is probably my favourite feature. I've personally defined the <leader>f chord to emit an underscore in vim just to save myself the trouble of reaching all the way for a shift and a dash.


I'm curious about why ckknight started this project instead of contributing to Dart. I see that the syntax is more Pythonic than C-ish. What else distinguishes this language from Dart?


Dart reinvents a full type system for itself, with its own environment and paradigms, and if you want to cross-compile to JavaScript instead of running in a dart VM, you have to ship a huge swath of code with it to get it working.

GorillaScript works with the JavaScript type system instead of against it, at least as well as it can, including supporting nice future additions like Map, Set, and WeakMap.

GorillaScript tries to work within the JavaScript landscape as best it can so that there is as little of a disconnect between GorillaScript and JavaScript as possible.


Too bad it doesn't have list comprehensions. That's something I sorely miss when writing most mainstream languages apart from Python. (I know CoffeeScript has them.)


Actually it does have list comprehensions. You just use a for loop (or any loop) as an expression and it evaluates to an array.


There is also Embedded GorillaScript for templating http://ckknight.github.io/egs/


Now this one really looks like a nice language!


Whoa, this actually looks really good. terse, robust and safety first, whilst still packed with some high-level features.


Kinda like C# ;)


Yes, I take a lot of inspiration (with some leeway for personal taste) from Delphi and C#, so I have great respect for Anders Hejlsberg - who I'm now competing with since TypeScript.


There is a small typo in "The outer this can also be captured _be_ appending".


Filed a pull request fixing this: https://github.com/ckknight/gorillascript/pull/101


Is this the same ckknight who made PitBull, Parrot etc?


Yeah, I stepped away from the Lua world to work on JavaScript-related stuff.


The same guy who used to hang out on boo irc? Wonder if that's where the macro ideas came from.


Yeah, I hung out there. Also contributed a bit. No, most of my macro ideas come from Scheme.


"bitand" for bitwise & is weird


Bitwise operators for JavaScript are unused except in special cases, as JavaScript really doesn't handle bitwise as one might expect. Everything is cast to either int32 (or uint32 in the case of >>>) and then recast back into a Number (8-bit IEEE-754 floating point). Due to their relative lack of use, freeing up the symbols to represent something else seemed prudent.


I've seen them get quite a bit of use in graphical code, which is, well, actually fairly common in JS.

Code that uses bitwise operations looks fairly ugly as is. Hav e you considered enabling them with a prefix or suffix? E.G. ^$ instead of bitxor, or >>$ instead of bitrshift...


That could be possible, you could even do it today, if you wanted:

    macro operator binary ^$
      ASTE $left bitxor $right
There are also operators for `and`, `or`, `xor` which act logically. `not` which does a boolean invert. So there are `bitand`, `bitor`, `bitxor`, `bitnot` which fit well as working bitwise instead of logically.

I suppose the outliers are `bitlshift`, `bitrshift`, `biturshift`, but it does somewhat make sense to keep the `bit` prefix because it casts to int32 and because its operations are inherently bitwise.


how about _& instead of the lengthy and typo prone "bitand"


Everything is weird the first time you see it.




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