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Particle programming

This program is a Quine. Quine is an overused motif but it's not the main topic of this entry. My challenge was to write arbitrary Ruby code with fewer non-particles, where a particle is a word which consists of one or two characters.

Quine on chessboard is a Quine only with particles, but this code doesn't show Ruby is a Turing-complete language only with particles. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a perfect solution for this problem. My entry uses a single 3-character word, "%I{". I think this is a serious limitation of Ruby.


To run arbitrary Ruby code, we often use Kernel#eval. You cannot directly write "eval" as "eval" is a 4-character word. This program creates :send by %I{#{?s+?e+?n+?d}}. I was guessing no one would use the %I literal. I'm happy I could find a usage of it.

Once we get :send, we can use a technique for symbolic Ruby programming. You can create a lambda by "->(){}", implicitly call Symbol#to_proc by prefixing '&' to a symbol, and use Proc#[] instead of Proc#call. Try following one-liner:

->(&_){_[_,?e+?v+?a+?l,'puts "hello"']}[&%I{#{?s+?e+?n+?d}}[0]]

Some sub-tricks are also involved. The positions of particles are carefully arranged to get the code parsed. For example, you should always put '+' at the end of a line to concatenate two strings.

You can see the main code by changing the second ?e+?v+?a+?l to ?p+?u+?t+?s. If you are not familiar with pack/unpack, you may be surprised how concise the code for formatting is. Try"remarks.markdown").split
puts a.pack("A15"*a.size).unpack("A61"*19)