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README.md

Spry

nimble

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This is the Spry language, inspired by Rebol/Smalltalk/Self/Forth and Nim. Characteristics:

  • A dynamically typed minimalistic language with a free form syntax similar to Rebol/Forth
  • Parser produces an AST which in turn is interpreted by the interpreter
  • Functional in nature and has closures and non local return
  • Homoiconic which means code and data has the same form
  • Meant to be 100% live and support interactive development

Here are my articles about Spry

Why would I play with this?

  • You find ideas in Rebol/Ren/Red interesting but would like something different :)
  • You love Smalltalk but can imagine a simplified similar language and want to play with multicore or small platforms and more easily use the C/C++/Nim eco system
  • You love Nim but want to have a dynamic language running inside Nim
  • You find Spry cool and would like to port it to another host language
  • ...or you just love freaky programming language ideas!

Installation

Spry only depends on Nim, so it should work fine on Windows, OSX, Linux etc, but for the moment I only use Linux for Spry development. The shell scripts will probably be rewritten in nimscript and thus everything can be fully cross platform - feel free to help me with that!

Vagrant

Included is a VagrantFile for Ubuntu 18.04. If you have vagrant just do vagrant up and vagrant ssh into it to find spry installed. Test with ispry - the "interactive spry" REPL, or spry --version.

LXC

The following commands can get you running inside LXC very quickly, tested on Ubuntu 19.04:

Start a Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa, LTS) LXC machine and login to it:

lxc launch ubuntu:20.04 spry
lxc exec spry -- su --login ubuntu

Install dependencies, Nim and eventually Spry itself. Note that this is not a minimal Spry but one that includes RocksDB, GUI, Python wrapper etc:

sudp apt update
sudo apt install gcc pkg-config libgtk-3-dev librocksdb-dev libpython2.7
curl https://nim-lang.org/choosenim/init.sh -sSf | sh
export PATH=/home/ubuntu/.nimble/bin:$PATH
echo "export PATH=/home/ubuntu/.nimble/bin:$PATH" >> .profile
nimble refresh
nimble install spry

Then make sure Spry works:

ubuntu@spry:~$ spry --version
Spry 0.8.0
ubuntu@spry:~$ spry -e "echo (3 + 4)"
7
ubuntu@spry:~$ ispry
Welcome to interactive Spry!
An empty line will evaluate previous lines, so hit enter twice.
>>> 3 + 4
>>> 
7

Docker

Thales Macedo Garitezi also made a Docker image for testing out the Spry REPL (ispry):

You can run it like this (with or without sudo):

docker run --rm -it thalesmg/spry

...and that should get you into the REPL.

Linux

The following should work on a Ubuntu/Debian, adapt accordingly for other distros.

  1. Get GCC and Nim! I recommend using choosenim or just following the official instructions. Using choosenim it's as simple as:

    sudo apt install gcc pkg-config libgtk-3-dev librocksdb-dev libpython2.7
    curl https://nim-lang.org/choosenim/init.sh -sSf | sh
    
  2. Clone this repo. Then run nimble install in it. That should hopefully end up with spry and ispry built and in your path. You can also just run nimble install spry but then you have no access to examples etc in this git repository.

  3. Try with say spry --version or spry -e "echo (3 + 4)". And you can also try the REPL with ispry.

So now that you have installed Spry, you can proceed to play with the examples in the examples directory, see README in there for details.

OSX

The following should work on OSX.

  1. Install Homebrew unless you already have it.

  2. Get Nim! I recommend using choosenim or just following the official instructions. Using choosenim it's as simple as:

    curl https://nim-lang.org/choosenim/init.sh -sSf | sh
    

You can also use brew (although not sure how good it follows Nim releases): brew install nim 3. Install extra dependencies, at the moment Rocksdb is one: brew install rocksdb 4. Clone this repo. Then run nimble install in it. That should hopefully end up with spry and ispry built and in your path. You can also just run nimble install spry but then you have no access to examples etc in this git repository.

  1. Try with say spry --version or spry -e "echo (3 + 4)". And you can also try the REPL with ispry.

So now that you have installed Spry, you can proceed to play with the examples in the examples directory, see README in there for details.

Windows

You can "cheat" and try out Spry using a zip with binaries.

  1. First you want to have git installed, and ideally with the unix utilities included so that some of the basic unix commands work on the Windows Command prompt.

  2. Install Nim using binaries. Just follow the instructions and make sure to answer yes to include the directories in the PATH as finish.exe asks you if you want. NOTE: Currently using Choosenim on Windows will produce a 32 bit Nim and Spry, even on a 64 bit Windows, so I don't recommend Choosenim on Windows just yet.

  3. There are no dependencies other than some dlls that are included in the Nim bin directory.

  4. Clone this repo. Then run nimble install in it. That should hopefully end up with spry and ispry built and in your path. You can also just run nimble install spry but then you have no access to examples etc in this git repository.

  5. Try with say spry --version or spry -e "echo (3 + 4)". And you can also try the REPL with ispry.

So now that you have installed Spry, you can proceed to play with the examples in the examples directory, see README in there for details.

Playing with it

  1. If you want to build the interpreter manually, go into src and run nim c -d:release spry to build the Spry interpreter, or nim c -d:release ispry for the REPL. It should produce a single binary each. That's the standard invocation to build a nim program in release mode.

  2. Then go into examples and look at hello.sy as the next mandatory step :). Its simply Spry source being run by the spry executable interpreter using the "shebang" trick.

  3. Then you can cd into bench and run bench.sh which starts by building the standalone Spry interpreter and then use it to run factorial.sy which is a program that calculates factorial 12 100k times. It takes 2.7 seconds on my laptop which is quite slow, about 6x slower than Rebol3, 20x slower than Python and 100x slower than Pharo Smalltalk. :) You can run compare.sh to see yourself. With a bit of work removing unneeded silly stuff in the interpreter it should be reasonable to reach Rebol3 in performance.

  4. Ok, so at this point you want to learn a bit more how Spry works. Not much material around yet since its evolving but you can:

  • On Linux or OSX you should be able to build a trivial "IDE", see below.
  • Look at tests/*.nim which is a series of low level Spry code snippets and expected output.
  • Look at the various examples
  • Try running tutorial1.sy in tutorials, which is just showing we can do interactive tutorials with the repl
  • Try out the interactive REPL by running ispry
  • And of course, read the source code spryvm.nim. Its hopefully not that messy.

IDE

There is also a beginning of a Spry VM module (src/modules/spryrawui.nim) for making GUI stuff using the excellent libui project. A small trivial little IDE written in Spry itself exists and you can build it on Linux or OSX.

  • OSX: Just run ./makeideosx.sh in src and if you are lucky that produces a binary file called ideosx. Try running it with ./ideosx.
  • Linux: Just run ./makeide.sh in src and if you are lucky that produces a binary file called ide. Try running it with ./ide.

History

Spry started out as a Rebol inspired interpreter - since I felt the homoiconicity of Rebol was interesting to experiment with. Lispish, but not insanely filled with parenthesis :)

Then I started sliding towards Smalltalk when I added both support for infix arguments (so that a "receiver" can be on the left, similar to Nim), and later even keyword syntax for functions taking multiple arguments. I also changed func definitions to be more light weight (compared to Rebol) like Smalltalk blocks.

Spry is meant to mix with Nim. The idea is to use Nim for heavy lifting and binding with the outside world, and then let Spry be a 100% live dynamically typed language inside Nim. Spry will stay a very small language, but hopefully useful.

And oh, this is just for fun and I am not a good Nim hacker nor a language implementor. :)

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A Smalltalk and Rebol inspired language implemented as an AST interpreter in Nim

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