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A Lisp-style language whose programs consist entirely of parentheses.

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Parenthetic

Parenthetic is a programming language that uses only ( and ) as code. All other characters are considered comments.

Hello World

The following Parenthetic program prints 'hello world':

((()()())(()(()()))((()(()))((())()()()()()()())((()()(()))((())()()()()()()()()())
((())()()()()()()()()()()))))((()()())(()(()()()))((()(())(())())((())()()()()()()(
)()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()())))((()(()))((()(())(())())((()(
()))(()(()()))((())()()()()()()())))((()(())(())())((()(()))(()(()()))((())()()()()
)))((()(())(())())((()(()))(()(()()))((())()()()()()()()()()()())))((()(())(())())(
(()(()))(()(()()))((())()()()()()()()()()()())))((()(())(())())((()(()))(()(()()))(
(())()()()()()()()()()()()()()())))(()(()()()))((()(())(())())((()(()))(()(()()))((
())()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()())))((()(())(())())((()(()))(()(()())
)((())()()()()()()()()()()()()()())))((()(())(())())((()(()))(()(()()))((())()()()(
)()()()()()()()()()()()()())))((()(())(())())((()(()))(()(()()))((())()()()()()()()
()()()())))((()(())(())())((()(()))(()(()()))((())()()()))))

Installation

  1. Clone the repo, which includes an interpreter written in Python 2.7:

    git clone git@github.com:cammckinnon/Parenthetic.git

  2. Navigate to the Parenthetic directory and run the interpreter by typing:

    python parenthetic.py

    It accepts code as input from standard input. Input is read until EOF is found, after which the output is written to the console.

  3. Or you can read input from a file like this:

    cat program.p | python parenthetic.py

Syntax

Parenthetic uses Lisp-style expressions, where parentheses enclose expressions:

(foo arg1 arg2)

Note that parenthetic programs with unmatched parentheses are invalid

Integers

A sequence of n parenthesis sets can be used to represent the integer n. For example the following sequence could represent the number 3:

() () ()

In order to tell the interpreter that you want the sequence to represent an integer, you must pass it as an argument to the built-in (()) macro. The macro acts like a function that accepts parenthesis sequences and returns integers. For example, the following program prints 3.0 to the console:

(
    integer macro
    (())
    3 sets of parentheses
    () () ()
)

Output: 3.0

Or equivalently:

((()) ()()())

Output: 3.0

Note that it doesn't matter how the parentheses in the sequence are nested within each other. For instance the following Parenthetic program prints 5.0 to the console:

((()) ((())) () () )

Output: 5.0

Symbols

A symbol is a sequence of parentheses that corresponds to some data or a function. For example, the symbol for the built-in multiplication function is ()(()). Like with integers, there is a macro for interpreting parenthesis sequences as symbols. It is ().

For example, the following Parenthetic program prints 10 by using the multiplication function ()(()) to multiply 5 times 2:

(
    multiply [note the use of the [] macro]
    (() ()(()))

    2
    ((()) ()())

    5
    ((()) ()()()()())
)

Output: 10.0

Equivalent Lisp code:

(* 2 5)

It is also possible to define your own symbols, using the built-in 'define' function, whose symbol is ()(). For example, the following code defines (())(()) as 6, then adds multiplies by 2 to get 12. Remember that all characters other than ( and ) characters are comments (including [ and ]).:

define [[]][[]] as 6
(
    define
    (() ()())

    [[]][[]]
    (() (())(()))

    6
    ((()) ()()()()()())
)

[[]][[]] * 2
(
    multiply
    (() ()(()))

    [[]][[]]
    (() (())(()))

    2
    ((()) ()())
)

Output: 12.0

Equivalent Lisp code:

(define x 6)
(* x 2)

Standard Library

Parenthetic has a built-in standard library that is available by default (no includes/library imports necessary):

define

Symbol: ()()

For details on define and its usage, see the Syntax->Symbols section above.

multiply, divide, subtract, add

These math operations can be performed on one or more numbers. Here are their symbols:

  • subtract: (()())
  • multiply: ()(())
  • divide: (())()
  • add: (()). Note: You can also use add for concatenating characters/strings together (see the string section below).

Example:

(
    plus
    (() (()))

    3
    ((()) ()()())

    6
    ((()) ()()()()()())
)

Output: 9.0

Equivalent Lisp code:

(+ 3 6)

lambda

Symbol: ()

Facilitates anonymous functions. Here's an example where we use define and lambda to create a function that takes in a number and adds 1 to it:

define a [][][] as a function that
takes in a number n and returns n + 1
(
    define
    (() ()())

    [][][]
    (() ()()())

    (
        lambda
        (() ())

        (
            n [[]][]
            (() (())())
        )

        n + 1
        (
            plus
            (() (()))

            n [[]][]
            (() (())())

            1
            ((()) ())
        )
    )
)

7 + 1
(
    plus
    (() ()()())
    7
    ((()) ()()()()()()())
)

Output: 8.0

Equivalent Lisp code:

(define f
  (lambda (n)
    (+ n 1)))

(f 7)

equal

Symbol: (())(())

Takes in two arguments. If they are equal, the True primitive is returned. Otherwise the False primitive is returned.

Example:

[equal 2 2]
(
    equal
    (() (())(()))
    2
    ((()) ()())
    2
    ((()) (()))
)

Output: True

Equivalent Lisp code:

(equal? 2 2)

<=

Symbol: ()(())()

Takes in two numeric arguments a and b. If a <= b, the True primitive is returned. Otherwise the False primitive is returned.

Example:

[<= 3 4]
(
    <=
    (() ()(())())
    3
    ((()) ()()())
    4
    ((()) (())(()))
)

Output: True

Equivalent Lisp code:

(<= 3 4)

if

Symbol: ()()()

Takes in three arguments: condition, then, and else. If condition is not false and not 0, the then argument is evaluated and returned. Otherwise, the else argument is evaluated and returned.

Example:

if 3 = 4, return 1, otherwise return 2
(
    if
    (() ()()())

    [equal 3 4]
    (
        equal
        (() (())(()))
        3
        ((()) ()()())
        4
        ((()) ((()))())
    )

    1
    ((()) ())
    2
    ((()) ()())
)

Output: 2.0

Equivalent Lisp code:

(if (equal? 3 4) 1 2)

not

Symbol: ()(()())

If the argument is neither 0.0 nor False, True is returned. Otherwise, False is returned.

Example:

[not [equal 1 1]]
(
    not
    (() ()(()()))

    [equal 1 1]
    (
        equal
        (() ()(())())
        1
        ((()) ())
        1
        ((()) ())
    )
)

Output: False

Equivalent Lisp code:

(not (equal? 1 1))

cons

Symbol: ((()))()

Takes in two arguments a and b and returns a pair (a, b).

Example:

(
    cons
    (() ((()))())

    1
    ((()) ())

    2
    ((()) ()())
)

Output: (1.0, 2.0)

Equivalent Lisp code:

(cons 1 2)

car

Symbol: ((()))(())

Given a pair (a, b), returns a.

Example:

(
    car
    (() ((()))(()))

    (
        cons
        (() ((()))())

        1
        ((()) ())

        2
        ((()) ()())
    )
)

Output: 1.0

Equivalent Lisp code:

(car (cons 1 2))

cdr

Symbol: ((()))()()

(
    cdr
    (() ((()))()())

    (
        cons
        (() ((()))())

        1
        ((()) ())

        2
        ((()) ()())
    )
)

Output: 2.0

Equivalent Lisp code:

(cdr (cons 1 2))

empty

Symbol: ((()))

empty exists to facilitate lists. We define a list as a pair such that applying cdr one or more times to the list will return empty. Note - empty is not a function; it can be accessed directly. When printed to the console, empty appears as ().

Example:

(() ((())))

Output: ()

Equivalent Lisp code:

(list)

char

Symbol: (())(())()

Accepts one integer argument, and returns the corresponding ascii character.

Example:

(
    char
    (() (())(())())

    33 [ascii value for '!']
    ((()) ()()()()()()()()()()
          ()()()()()()()()()()
          ()()()()()()()()()()
          ()()())
)

Output: !

string

Symbol: (())()(())

Accepts a list of characters, and returns a string. string is useful for displaying messages.

Example:

define 97 for easy access to a and b
(   define
    (() ()())
    97
    (() (()()))
    [+ 7 [* 9 10]]
    (
        (() (()))
        ((()) ()()()()()()())
        (
            (() ()(()))
            ((()) ()()()()()()()()())
            ((()) ()()()()()()()()()())
        )
    )
)

[string ['a', ['b', []]]]
(
    string
    (() (())()(()))
    (   
        cons
        (() ((()))())
        a
        (
            (() (())(())())
            (   
                (() (()))
                ((()) )
                (() (()()))
            )
        )

        (   
            cons
            (() ((()))())
            b
            (
                (() (())(())())
                (   
                    (() (()))
                    ((()) ())
                    (() (()()))
                )
            )
            empty
            (() ((())))

        )
    )   
)

Output: ab

Tip: You can also pass any combination of characters and strings into the add function (see above) to create strings.

Error handling

If your program has a runtime error or a compiletime error the interpreter will print "Parenthesis Mismatch" to standard output and then exit.

Test Suite

In the ./tests folder there is a series of tests that check the interpreter for correctness.

    python tests.py

You may find this useful if you wish to modify the interpreter's source code.

Inspiration

This language was inspired by a conversation with Lucas, who said that scheme looks like this: ())()()()))))(). Well, it does now!

Also the esoteric language Parenthesis Hell was a great inspiration.

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