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[Axiom-developer] Re: Axiom interactive input syntax

From: David MENTRE
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: Axiom interactive input syntax
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 08:41:40 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.1002 (Gnus v5.10.2) Emacs/21.2 (gnu/linux)

"Bill Page" <address@hidden> writes:

> On Monday, December 08, 2003 2:01 PM David MENTRE
> wrote:
>> (2) would be, at the same time, a unique, well defined and
>> correct type inference.
> That is certainly the hard part! <grin>

A hard part, but *maybe* not the most difficult one (if record-like type
inference suits Axiom needs).

> That is interesting but compared to what we were discussing
> originally about unifying the Axiom interactive input language
> syntax with the compiler language syntax - this is what I
> would call *very* ambitious.

Yes. :) Never let a computer scientist try to make some science. :)

> What I had in mind was much simpler. I thought it might be
> useful to modify the TeXmacs/Axiom (tm_axiom) interface
> program so that it stores what it gets from TeXmacs (when
> you press Enter) into a temporary text file, say
> /tmp/texmacs.input, interpreting shift-Enter as new lines,
> and then calls Axiom with
>  )read /tmp/texmacs.input
> to execute the commands. This would allow the usual indented
> block structure style to be used rather than the ( ) block
> structure. And the syntax would then be closer to the
> compiler syntax and also essentially identical to the code
> that is displayed in the Jenks & Sutor book.

Yes, it might be doable. However I wonder if we want to have a different
syntax between TeXmacs and command-line interfaces. Wouldn't it disturb
the user? More burden for the community? And would the example of the
Axiom book be usable?

More generally, Axiom is not perfect. We will have to decide at which
point we make more noise and start its promotion. (I think having the
freely available Axiom book is a requirement) We will probably then have
a more important user community and changes will be more difficult
(due to user habits). I have not predefined answer on such issues. 

>> One might envision a typing system where you have several
>> operators ('+int' for (INT, INT) -> INT, '+poly' for
>> (POLY, POLY) -> POLY) (thus you can use ML-like type 
>> inference) but hide those several operators with some
>> "hints" from the typing of previous objects in interactive
>> mode (e.g. x is a POLY, so the '+' in "x+3" means
>> "use the '+poly'"). I don't know yet if this idea is
>> just smoke in my brain or a real good idea. :)
> Not at all. That is (more or less) exactly how Axiom works
> now. See "package calling" in Jenks and Sutor, page 83.

I'm only page 69. :) 

In any case, many thanks for the feedback. 

David MENTRE <address@hidden> --

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