2 Apr 2002 lukeg   » (Master)

Easter Hacking
    I've just spent the swedish 4.5-day Easter weekend on some of the most frenzied hacking I've done in years, resulting in my new favourite home-made program: Distel. It's a partial and interoperable implementation of the Erlang programming language in Emacs Lisp. And I even have time left to brag about it on the internet before the sun rises!
Programs and Documentation
    I spent about a day writing a manual for Distel, which makes it the second program that I've been so excited about that I've written a "real" manual for it. The other was Echidna. I usually avoid writing, but it is interesting to go through a lot of iterations of the edit-print-read cycle, catching problems and making little improvements each time. The really interesting thing is how unsatisfactory it would turn out without all those iterations.

    Which raises the awkward thought: I don't print/read/edit my programs that way. As an experiment I've been going through the loop a few times with some of my source code, and I think it makes a really solid improvement. I guess this is old news to good programmers, but I'm not usually in the habbit of sitting down and reading my own programs start-to-end.

    If I were a real man I'd ask some colleagues to point out my worst code, and print/read/edit that. But I'm not sure I'm that brave right now :-)

    All that said, the manual is probably full of typos, and the programs full of bugs - but such is life!

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