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---
timestamp: "Sat Oct 13 00: 00: 01 -0700 2007"
title: darjeeling - a roundabout route
id: 72
content: |
<p>Well by now if you follow Ruby much you've probably noticed the
whole <a
href="http://on-ruby.blogspot.com/2007/01/will-rubinius-be-acceptable-lisp.html">Will Rubinius
be an acceptable Lisp</a> ponderings or brainstormings or whatever you want to
call it. And if you know me at all, you'd be aware that the
union of such concepts is exactly the kind of thing that would
excite me.</p>
<p>So I meddled around a bit
with <a
href="http://parsetree.rubyforge.org">ParseTree</a>. Honestly, it's
ridiculous; the Ruby side of this kind of thing has been made more
or less trivial by Ryan's great work: </p>
<pre class='code'>
require <span class="string">'rubygems'</span>
require <span class="string">'parse_tree'</span>
<span class="keyword">class</span> <span class="type">Infuser</span>
<span class="keyword">def</span> <span class="function-name">self.brew</span>(klass)
lisp(<span class="type">ParseTree</span>.new.parse_tree(klass)).sub(<span class="string">/\(\(/</span>, <span class="string">'(class Object ('</span>)
</span> <span class="keyword">end</span>
<span class="keyword">def</span> <span class="function-name">self.lisp</span>(leaf)
leaf.respond_to?(<span class="constant">: map</span>) ? <span class="string">"(</span><span class="variable-name">#{leaf.map{|l| lisp(l)}</span><span class="string">.join(' ')})"</span> : leaf
<span class="keyword">end</span>
<span class="keyword">end</span>
</pre>
<p>Would you look at that. Like I said; pretty trivial. While we're on the subject of trivial, consider this: </p>
<pre class='code'>
<span class="keyword">class</span> <span class="type">Foo</span>
<span class="keyword">def</span> <span class="function-name">bar</span>
1 + 1
<span class="keyword">end</span>
<span class="keyword">end</span></pre>
<p><code>Infuser.brew Foo</code> gives us this: </p>
<pre class='code'>
(<span class="keyword">class</span> <span class="type">Object</span>
(<span class="keyword">class</span> <span class="type">Foo</span> (const <span class="type">Object</span>)
(<span class="keyword">defn</span> bar
(<span class="keyword">scope</span>
(<span class="keyword">block</span> (args)
(<span class="keyword">call</span> (lit 1) + (array (lit 1))))))))
</pre>
<p>At this point you may be tempted to think yourself, "Hey, that
looks like lisp! Run it through the compiler and see what it does."
Unfortunately Ruby's object model is wildly divergent from Common
Lisp's. (Though you could say that's very fortunate depending on
your opinion of <acronym title="Common Lisp Object System">CLOS</acronym>&mdash;I won't go there.) The point is, running
the above code would require getting a subset of Ruby's object model
running in Common Lisp. Running nontrivial code would basically require
getting it completely ported.</p>
<p>Now that sounds hugely daunting task. It probably is. But I've got
this wild idea that you'd only have to actually implement a fairly
small subset of this in CL itself. The rest could be translated over
from Ruby. I'm thinking all the portions of the
implementation currently written in C would need to be redone in CL,
and if the port is accurate enough then the portions of Ruby-the-implementation which are written
in Ruby-the-language will be able to be translated through the infuser shown
above. Now I know that the official Ruby has gobs and gobs of stuff
implemented in C, but it seems to be a stated goal
of <a href="http://rubini.us/rubinius">Rubinius</a> to decrease the
C-to-Ruby ratio. That may be something that could be leveraged
here. (Note to self: need to check out MetaRuby as well.)</p>
<p>There's another hiccup though&mdash;it seems there's no solid
<acronym title="Behaviour-Driven Development">BDD</acronym>
framework for Common Lisp. A few weeks back I started
writing <a
href="http://dev.technomancy.us/phil/browser/dotfiles/.emacs.d/behave">behave.el</a>
for Emacs Lisp. The pieces are all coming together in my head, so it
seems the thing to do at this point would be to finish it, port it
to CL, and then start porting the Rubinius specs to it.</p>
<p><b>Update</b>: this was not actually a good idea.</p>
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