April 30th, 2012


Light Table and Clojurescript

Thanks to Ars Technica for pointing me to Light Table, a remarkably cool new toy-in-process. It's a pretty radical rethink of the idea of an IDE, combining code editing, interactive realtime execution and a highly efficient UI layout, resulting in the most different IDE I've seen in a lot of years. It incorporates some of the ideas from Code Bubbles, but goes much further.

The project is pretty nascent, but worth encouraging along. To that end, they've opened, yes, a Kickstarter project to fund the first year or so of development. I've kicked in $15 in the hopes that this turns real, because it looks potentially enormously useful for serious web development. You might want to give it a look.

Along the way, I noticed that Light Table is written in Clojurescript, yet another example of somebody dealing with The Javascript Problem by writing a compiler on top of JS. It does seem the way of the future: since Javascript has become a horrible roadblock to productivity, more and more people are simply treating it as the browser equivalent of machine language, and building realer languages on top of it. Clojurescript is, as the name implies, a dialect of Clojure, the other main contender for "most important new JVM language", and it includes idiomatic bindings for jQuery. I like Scala more, but that's partly because I like ML more, and Scala is an ML descendent, whereas Clojure is a Lisp descendent. If you like Lisp-style languages, it's worth checking out Clojure and Clojurescript, which have revived that syntax as a full-fledged modern functional language for the JVM and the browser...