[plt-scheme] A crazy idea (fMUMPS)

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Thu Dec 29 16:37:03 EST 2005

On Dec 29, 2005, at 1:14 PM, Greg Woodhouse wrote:

> I realized I
> was doing essentially the same thing each time, so I wrote a program to
> drive interfaces from templates that were just XML documents. It would
> be easy to optimize by generating code directly from the template and,
> in retrospect, it occurs to me that this is just a special case of
> partial evaluation (http://partial-eval.org/).

This is actually called meta-programming or generative programming
or wizard programming. Its name changes every couple of years, but
that doesn't matter.

Question: can you turn this program into an application that
your colleagues can use, without opening the hood? Will it help
them become more productive? If so, you might have found a place
to place your lever. Spend some short amount of time every day
producing this tool. Use it on your own. Point it out in a team
meeting. See it spread.

Sounds like you don't need a doctor :-)

(I have done this myself. Starting in 94, I allowed students to
choose their favorite programming language for the PL course.
I presented solutions in Scheme, Java, and C++ for the first
three weekly assignments. The students recognized that my code
was stylized but as good as theirs and they saw that the Scheme
code was a quarter of the Java code, which as slightly shorter
than C++ -- because I didn't know about templates and because
I ignored memory allocation issues. Eventually I'd show them
the Scheme macros that I had used with three different
implementations to produce the three solutions, with less
work than writing Java or C++ from scratch.)

-- Matthias

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