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The Net Takeaway: SimpleScript?


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SimpleScript? · 07/24/2008 05:29 PM, Tech

Whatever happened to the days when you could simply just program a computer? Remember when basic was included with every Apple and Atari and Commodore, when you could make the computer do some simple stuff all on your own?

Where have those days gone?

What are the options for simple whip-it-out programs?

Judoscript, my previous fave, is gone. Groovy is huge and too javaish. Jython and Python are ok, but still require learning that spaces are important. Don’t even get me started about Ruby and Perl. VBScript and Javascript are easy, but there is no cross-platform and simple runtime for them. is too focused on graphics, and has few ways to access databases or do anything too intense.

GUIs are the death of every one of the scripting language. With the need to have events and listeners, you immediately remove any ease from the process. Or, you have too much GUI, and a limited back end, ala the very handy AutoIT scripting language for controlling Windows: can move icons around the screen, open and click on toolbars, all kinds of stuff… but there is no built in database access or other high power stuff. Still, in all my searching, it is coming out on the top for simple programming in a basic-like script with simple GUIs.

What do I really want?

Imagine a script with syntax like this:

Create Button {Name}
  StartLabel "Click Me"; HoverText "Activates Blender";
  If Clicked Do [Something]


Open File
Loop til File End
  Read Line
  Divide Line on Spaces into X[]
  Write Line
End Loop

Give it simple database functionality so one can “join” variables on keys, and can aggregate. It should have the ability to create tables (crosstabs and full tables) along with transpose capabilities.

Looks like pseudocode, doesn’t it? Except that’s what we really want. We often don’t want to muck with all the fancy stuff, we just want to get stuff done.

Make writing a program like writing English, and suddenly, anyone can program again.

Why don’t we have something like this? Is it really all that hard? Does everything need to have object inheritance, closures/lambdas, or other super sophisticated language features? Where is a simple language which can do powerful things?

I don’t mind the Wizards with Lisp and Erlang, with map-reduce and other magic. But is there something for the rest of us to use?

* * *


  1. Tcl comes to mind, and is still in active development. AppleScript would be perfect if it worked across platforms.

    Bob Page    Jul 25, 06:26 PM    #

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