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Last week, the 2008 Lang.NET symposium was held last week.  If you're not familiar with what that is, it's a discussion about languages, compilers and libraries within the .NET space.  It's been one of those things I'd love to attend just to understand where Miguel de Icaza, Anders Hejlsberg, Luke Hoban, Jim Hugunin and others are going with their related languages.

Lang.NET Stuff

I followed Ted Neward's recaps as they were going on as to understand what all we were missing.  He was good enough to provide great writeups on the symposium and can be found here:
So, there was a pretty wide array of speakers there including Tomas Petricek and his project Phalanger.  If you're unfamiliar with him, I've referenced him on several occasions when talking about F# as he's pretty deep into that as well.  Anyhow, he has assumed control of Phalanger which compiles PHP to IL and has recently added on Silverlight functionality as well.  What's really cool is that he's now working on Phalanger on the DLR.  His recap of the even can be found here.

Ted Neward gave a presentation on Scala.  I don't think he sounded too pleased as to the way it went with ribbing from Don Box among others.  It'll be interesting to see how Scala progresses since it has been noted that Ruby is dead and Scala is in...   Scala on .NET is something that I have yet to fully explore but it's on the latter half of this year I think.  Right now it's a push on F# to get myself deep in that before anything else.

Anders gave a talk as well as others.  It's going to be interesting to see the collision of functional programming into C#, taking ideas from F# and so on.  It's already happening with lambdas and the System.Func delegate type.

F# was very well represented this year as Luke Hoban (F# Program Manager), Harry Pierson (Microsoft IT), and Tomas Petricek.  Harry has a good recap of what he saw here.  It's going to be interesting this year as F# becomes more of a first class player in the .NET space.  I'm loving F# in what I'm doing right now and all interested should put it on their learning list. 

John Lam has a pretty good writeup as well with regards to Lang.Net as a whole here.  This time Ruby was well represented with Charlie Nutter, Wayne Kelly and John Lam.  John has a pretty good recap and slides of his talk and that can be found here

Roll Your Own?

So, why am I interested?  Well, compilers and languages is something I definitely geek about.  I've been looking at F# for creating my DSLs as well as looking at it to create compilers, both of which it can specialize quite nicely.  Robert Pickering's book "Foundations of F#" can start you on your way to that.

With all this discussion about compilers, Joel Pobar published an article in the latest MSDN magazine called "Create a Language Compiler for the .NET Framework".   This is a pretty good starting point for those unfamiliar with creating compilers and unfamiliar with the lovely thing that is System.Reflection.Emit and how much of a friend it is.  I done a little bit of this years ago when I was creating a compiler for some DSLs that I created.  I realized that it was more trouble than it was worth, but still a worthwhile exercise.  But the point of the article is stating how easy it is to create or port a language to the .NET platform.  A very good read and the source code is pretty solid too.

Until next time...

kick it on Posted on Monday, February 4, 2008 7:00 PM Microsoft , .NET , C# , F# | Back to top

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