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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 10:10:18 +0700

On 22 Mar 2013, at 09:43, Mike Gran <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hi Gary (and Reuben)

Hi Mike,

>> From: Gary V. Vaughan <address@hidden>
>> 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
>> branch:
> I've been following it from afar. Good stuff, but I haven't done much
> other than run it once or twice.

Cool!  It's become a *lot* easier to get running in recent months, now
that all the dependencies are available as luarocks, so if you battled
through installing by hand before that... I'd be interested to hear if
you have any problems getting up and running with the recent revisions
from git.

>> 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).
> I could see how that could be fun, mapping Guile VM bytecodes to the Lua
> bytecodes.  I wonder how compatible they might be?

Rather than byte-code to byte-code translation, I was rather thinking of either:

  1. Tweaking zlc to be capable of compiling guile scheme directly to Lua (and
     then easily from there to Lua bytecodes); or
  2. Running Zile with the Guile implementation of Lua, and getting Guile as
     an extension language for free.

The first, I can do, though it's a long time since I paid attention to Guile,
so I'd need guidance and/or test-cases from someone familiar with it to make
sure my implementation would be compatible with canonical Guile Scheme.

The second, I was asking about because I was initially drawn to Guile during
the era when it was being touted as a good compiler target platform to become
a runtime for code written in any language and then translated to Guile Scheme
before execution.  But, my impression is that this work stalled and/or failed?

> =your reasons for creating one are exciting.
> I guess, because Lua is such a great extension language, I don't see the
> value added in writing Zile extensions in anything other than Lua.

It depends on how interesting a fully baked Guile Emacs is to you... Although
you obviously have one already with your Anniversary Hack, I think Guile Scheme
in Lua Zile (by one of the methods above) is a much easier way to achieve a
useful editor for the long-term.  And I'm certainly of a mind that Guile
Emacs is much less of a development black hole than trying to chase ELisp's
tail in Zmacs.

Actually, it just occurred to me that there might be another route than the
two above:

  3. Translate your C Zile patches for Guile integration into Lua patches,
     à la Reubens initial port of C Zile to Lua - although, it sounds like
     a bit of a Frankensteins monster already ;)

In any case, I'll be very happy for you to keep a weather eye future progress,
and raise flags for me if you see any pot holes in the road ahead.

Gary V. Vaughan (gary AT gnu DOT org)

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