The First Real Post about Smile

I’ve wanted to talk about Smile for a long time now.

Smile is a programming language. A decade ago when I named it, it stood for “Syntax Makes Interpreting Lisp Easier,” but don’t tell anybody there’s a Lisp in there, because it doesn’t look, act, or feel like Lisp.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Smile is a programming language.

It is built on extremely solid theoretical foundations, on a cross between the untyped lambda calculus and a message-passing model. The core of the language is built on very simple concepts, rigorously applied at every level to build mathematically-provable abstractions. It’s a language that is designed to make computer scientists giggle with glee at its elegance and simplicity.

It is also a programming language designed for practical use. Real use. By real programmers. Who need to get real things done. It comes out-of-the-box with strong support for strings and files and regular expressions and crunching and slicing and dicing data so that you can solve real problems with it in just a few lines of code. The language syntax is simple and easy to learn, for common problems it reads a lot like languages you already know, a little Python here, a little Ruby there, a little JavaScript over there. That’s by design: You don’t want to waste your time learning another language’s bizarre idiosyncracies. Hello, World shouldn’t take you ages to divine; it should be obvious to any moderately-capable programmer what every character in it does:

    #include "stdio"

    Stdout print "Hello, World.\n"

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Three Months to a Whole New You

We have a baby.

Those of you that have kids know that this is pretty much complete and sufficient explanation for where the heck I’ve been for the last six months. Those of you who don’t have kids, well, just trust me on this.

His name is Alan Thomas, after my grandfathers and my father, named a good strong name carried by WWII veterans, by leaders of men, by the men who taught me by example what it is to be a man, so named to honor our shared ancestry as he carries our lineage to the future. No pressure, kid. But I’m sure you’ll do fine.

He’s an amazing little thing. He’s three months old now, and not yet able to sit up, but he’s healthy and happy.

It somehow still boggles my mind that I’m a father. Fathers? Aren’t they adults? Big strong men who drink beer and watch football and lift heavy things and talk in short sentences about weighty matters? Is that me? Guess it must be. Sure don’t feel that grown-up, but I have a job and a wife and a dog and cats and a house and a mortgage and car payments, and now I have a son, too. I keep wondering who he’s going to be like, keep hoping I have something in common with him, which is a hard thing to divine when he mostly squeaks and squirms and hasn’t yet learned how to hold a spoon, much less why you’d want to.

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