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Re: Anniversary hack: Zile editor with Guile support

From: Gary V. Vaughan
Subject: Re: Anniversary hack: Zile editor with Guile support
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 08:13:55 +0700

Hi Mike,

I'm not subscribed to guile-user, so (if guile-user accepts non-subscriber
posts and this message arrives there at all!) please Cc: me on any replies.

On 20 Mar 2013, at 18:47, Gary V. Vaughan <address@hidden> wrote:
> On 20 Mar 2013, at 18:03, Reuben Thomas <address@hidden> wrote:
>> It's worth having a note of this:
>> In particular, Gary, maybe you'd like to mention the Zmacs work? Is it
>> worth considering whether it could be possible to build Zile with
>> either Zmacs or Guile?

I wonder whether you're aware of the recent change of tack in the Zile
project?  For the moment all the exciting work is happening on the lua

While not quite polished enough for a release, Reuben translated the entire
code base to Lua, over libposix/lcurses, some time ago, making it massively
more hackable than the old C code base.

Beyond that, I have been working on changing the emphasis of Zile from being
another emacs clone into a text-editor building kit, to the point where I'm
in the process of changing the acronym to 'Zile Implements Lua Editors' in
reference to the toolkit, where the Emacs like editor will be renamed as
Zmacs.  In the process of reorganising all the code, it turns out that the
Lua implementation of the Zmacs (formerly Zile) elisp parser is amazingly
close to being a Lisp-to-Lua compiler.

At the moment, I've spun that out into a separate project, which I'll readopt
back into the new Zmacs tree as zlc (Zmacs Lisp Compiler) so that Zmacs will
then be able to run elisp sources byte-compiled into Lua byte-codes for an
enormous speed bump.

This is where I think it gets interesting for you, in that zlc, being
implemented in Lua too, is also eminently hackable, to the point where I
don't think it would be very much work at all to tweak a version that compiles
a Guile inspired scheme to Lua bytecodes (as opposed to Elisp -> Lua).

Another goal of the reshuffle with Zile (the editor building toolkit) is to
make it easy to build experimental editors.  Reuben has a very cut down fork
of Lua Zile that we plan to re-adopt back into the Zile distribution, and I
have a TextMate inspired syntax highlighting subproject, both of which will
shortly live alongside Zmacs with equal billing as examples of the kinds of
things Zile can help with.  I wonder whether you'd be interested in contributing
to a Guile Emacs inspired Zuile™ flavour?

After all, chasing Elisp compatibility could easily turn into a black-hole,
and seems unlikely to ever reach a point where one could run any significant
Elisp packages on Zmacs (hence the re-purposing to becoming an editor building
toolkit), and so providing the infrastructure to get a Guile Emacs together
seems like a much better use of limited hacking resources to me... WDYT?

With my limited flirting with Guile in years past, I'm pretty sure the Lua-
on-Guile work stalled or failed a long time ago.  If not, or if it can be
resurrected, that may be another interesting means to leveraging all the
recent work on Lua Zile towards making a Guile Emacs by a different route?

Gary V. Vaughan (gary AT gnu DOT org)

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