Archive for November, 2011

American Censorship Day

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

SOPA is getting hearings today (Nov 16th). So I added the censorship banner for the day.

Mirah Office Hours

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

This week I looked at doing views in Shatner again. I had thought of a new approach to get around def_edb‘s issues with unquotes. That quickly devolved into an exploration of a part of the inference engine I hadn’t played with yet.

I’d been looking for a good way to share state between views and the ShatnerApp. Initially, my plan was to just have the view be a method on the Shatner app, just like how Dubious currently does it. But, that’s pretty pedestrian and totally wouldn’t cause things to blow up. Blowing things up in Mirah is one of the reasons I work on Shatner.

I thought maybe I could build view objects as closures. That way they’d have references to all the variables defined in the outer scope, but they could still be separate classes and have separate methods ala Rails’ view helpers.

And maybe it’d be easier to build a macro that just modifies the code in place to implement something like (gist):

so that it becomes (gist):

Of course, that didn’t work.

What I discovered was that Mirah currently doesn’t support closures being defined in closures (issue #155). They don’t work because they can’t figure out what the outer scope is.

When a closure is created in Mirah, it begins life as a Mirah::AST::Block. However, it doesn’t stay just a block for long. After the parse phase is over, it is transformed.

The typer figures out what method is being called with the block, and figures out what the block’s interface is. It generates AST nodes for a class that implements that interface and dumps the class into the tree of the outer class. It then adds AST nodes at the call site for creating a new instance of that freshly minted closure class and carries on typing.

The problem is that the AST nodes inside the block still think their parent is the block. This is only a problem when you have another block inside a block because a Mirah::AST::Block doesn’t have a class associated with it, so the closure generated inside the closure doesn’t know what contains it.

I still haven’t quite figured out how to resolve this. I feel like there’s probably some AST munging needed to get it to work properly, but I’m not sure what operations need to be taken.

It’s a very interesting problem though.

The other thing I looked at was getting == to use equals. Earlier, I’d tried copying String#+ doing something like (gist):

Which worked for ==, but not for !=, because I couldn’t figure out how to negate the call.

So, I tried the method used by kind_of?, which creates some AST nodes and shoves them back into the tree. That worked for the Java source generator, but not the Bytecode generator. Which was kind of odd.

Clearly I don’t know enough about how the bytecode generator works. Maybe I’ll look into that some next week.

‘Til next week everybody.