Paul Chiusano

Functional programming, UX, tech


About my book

My book, Functional Programming in Scala, uses Scala as a vehicle for teaching FP. Read what people are saying about it.

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Unison: a friendly programming language from the future the worldwide elastic computer (coming soon)
Type systems and UX: an example
CSS is unnecessary

A very early demo of semantic program layout

[   fp   unison   ]            

Unison programs are viewed and edited in the browser. The frontend (which does things like code layout) is being written in Elm which talks to a backend (which does things like typechecking) written in Haskell.

I posted a quick demo of some of the basic technology used for rendering Unison programs. Okay, so it’s rather ugly, but try to see past that for a moment. Try resizing the browser window until the expression no longer fits on one line and navigating around using the mouse and/or arrow keys. Unfortunately, there’s no editing capabilities just yet (soon!).

The “raw” source might have looked something like this:

foo [0,1,2..20] (baz "hello world!") -- omitted full list

Although in Unison, there is no “raw source” in textual form, there is only the syntax tree! Moreover, the syntax tree is “nameless”–terms like foo and baz are uniquely identified by a nameless hash of their contents, and we store metadata (containing human-readable names, among other things) separately. But more on that in a later post.

A couple other things to point out:

What I like about this general approach is how it frees the programmer from having to make decisions about stuff that for the most part doesn’t matter (though if it does matter, the programmer still has the option of exercising more control). No more debates about tabs vs spaces or whether to use K&R indent style. Unison stores presentation information like this separately, where it belongs–in the layout algorithm selected to display the expression. This is preferable to baking it into the stored form of programs and forcing everyone collaborating on a project to reach some consensus on the One True Indentation Style™.

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