Back from OOPSLA

I attended OOPSLA this year in Portland. Probably the thing of interest to my typical readership was the dynamic languages symposium. I didn't stay for the whole session (took place on my birthday and I had places I needed to be), but what I did see was good.

The first invited talk was by Ian Piumarta. His talk was about what it meant to be dynamic and how far one could take it. He started with implementing basically minimal Smalltalk. But then he added S-expressions. That gave him macros. After that he made the parser dynamic. Plus all of this compiled to PPC or x86 ISA. He then showed how flexible it all was by launching his interpreter, importing a file, and then had a working implementation of JavaScript along with his Smalltalk/S-expressions hybrid. He even said it ran faster than Firefox's or Safari's JS implementation! Pretty cool (although I don't know how practical it would be to use in the real-word) and due to be released in a month or so.

The presented talks were fine (two of which were about Python). The last talk had to do with adding typing at the module level in mzScheme. This led to a drawn-out discussion amongst some big names in the typing world that was interesting to listen to but began to border on bickering.

Audrey Tang gave the second invited talk (and the last one I listened to) on Perl 6. While it has everything, it does include some rather cool features like gradual typing through annotations and hyper operators. Looks like they are building in some rather advanced features into the language.