[ANNOUNCE] Mercat V0.3 beta release

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David Given

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Nov 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/18/98
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This is announcing the beta release of my Mercat general-purpose,
cross-platform, byte-compiled and garbage-collected programming system.

This post is off topic in that Mercat is not currently an IF language.
However, a number of people here have stated their interest in a VM system
like Mercat, and so may find Mercat useful as a reference (or even, heaven
forbid, use it themselves). Also, Mercat being cross-platform and
general-purpose, it could quite easily be used as an IF language provided
the appropriate libraries were written for it.

Mercat includes the following features:

* Garbage collection
* Portable binary files
* C-like syntax
* Associative arrays as a primitive type
* Real strings
* Easily expandable through a simple, fast system call interface
* Self-hosted; the compiler and assembler are written in Mercat
* Bitmap text interface

This version is a beta release. DOS (16 and 32-bit) and Linux executables
of the run-time system are provided, but the source is standard Posix C
and should compile on just about anything. The release contains the
compiler, assembler and demo programs in both source and .mo formats.

The demo programs include: paranoia, a port of the BSD game of the same
name; ME, the Mercat Editor, a full-screen editor with drop-down menus
written entirely in Mercat; and Sea Snake, a tacky action(!) game I hacked
up in a week. The last two make extensive use of the bitmap text
interface. And, of course, source for the compiler and assembler are
provided to play with.

Currently documentation is extremely limited; there's one README and the
source, and that's it.

Feedback is extremely welcome!

You can get Mercat at:

http://wired.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~dg/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?/Mercat

--
+- David Given ----------------+
| Work: d...@tao.co.uk | A censor is a man who thinks he knows
| Play: dgi...@iname.com | more than you ought to.
+- http://wiredsoc.ml.org/~dg -+

okbl...@usa.net

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
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In article <911391342.13811.0...@news.demon.co.uk>,
dg@ (David Given) wrote:
>
> Feedback is extremely welcome!
>

Hmmm. How about a sales pitch? I mean, portability, garbage collection and
associative arrays are good, but is that a good reason to invest in a new
language?

You know what I'm getting at? What I'd like to see on your web site is just a
few examples showing why Mercat kicks ass.

[ok]

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David Given

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Nov 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/22/98
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In article <734m4e$a8a$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <okbl...@usa.net> wrote:
[...]

>Hmmm. How about a sales pitch? I mean, portability, garbage collection and
>associative arrays are good, but is that a good reason to invest in a new
>language?
>
>You know what I'm getting at? What I'd like to see on your web site is just a
>few examples showing why Mercat kicks ass.

Sales pitch. Um. Well, it's, uh, small, and, uh, simple, and... oh, I
don't know. Look, writing a sales pitch is harder than writing the thing
itself, right? Which is why I didn't do one.

Suffice to say it's really small. The compiler's not optimised, the
assembler uses five-byte opcodes when it could use two-byte ones, the
binaries are full of debug information, and the full-screen editor I wrote
in it is still only 15kB.

One thing I'm vaguely aiming at is as a future IF language. I need OO,
function pointers, and stuff like that first but it should be eminently
suitable.

--
+- David Given ----------------+

| Work: d...@tao.co.uk | Uglúk u bagronk sha pushdug Internet-glob
| Play: dgi...@iname.com | búbhosh skai.
+- http://wiredsoc.ml.org/~dg -+

okbl...@usa.net

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Nov 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/30/98
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In article <911763903.4783.0...@news.demon.co.uk>,

dg@ (David Given) wrote:
>
> Sales pitch. Um. Well, it's, uh, small, and, uh, simple, and... oh, I
> don't know. Look, writing a sales pitch is harder than writing the thing
> itself, right? Which is why I didn't do one.
>

Heh. Spoken like a true engineer. Though you ought to be able to carry on
endlessly about some esoteric point you think is really cool. ;-)

>
> One thing I'm vaguely aiming at is as a future IF language. I need OO,
> function pointers, and stuff like that first but it should be eminently
> suitable.
>

I could get behind that, as long as you promise to always post here for the
rest of your life and offer continual updates at six-month intervals. ;-)

David Given

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Dec 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/1/98
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In article <73v37e$tte$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <okbl...@usa.net> wrote:
[...]

>Heh. Spoken like a true engineer. Though you ought to be able to carry on
>endlessly about some esoteric point you think is really cool. ;-)

I wrote a full-screen editor in it and it's 15kB? Complete with monstrous
amounts of debugging information?

>I could get behind that, as long as you promise to always post here for the
>rest of your life and offer continual updates at six-month intervals. ;-)

What do you want from me, blood? Ha! Served you right if I decided I
didn't owe you anything.

Anyway, watch this space. There will be an update out at some point and it
should become rather more usable then.
--
+- David Given ----------------+ A friend is someone you call to help
| Work: d...@tao.co.uk | you move. A real friend is someone
| Play: dgi...@iname.com | you call to help you move a body.
+- http://wiredsoc.ml.org/~dg -+

okbl...@usa.net

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Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
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In article <912528605.10284.0...@news.demon.co.uk>,

dg@ (David Given) wrote:
>
> I wrote a full-screen editor in it and it's 15kB? Complete with monstrous
> amounts of debugging information?
>

That's pretty cool.

>
> What do you want from me, blood? Ha! Served you right if I decided I
> didn't owe you anything.
>
> Anyway, watch this space. There will be an update out at some point and it
> should become rather more usable then.
> --

Will do.

David Given

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Dec 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/3/98
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In article <744abq$bmi$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <okbl...@usa.net> wrote:
>In article <912528605.10284.0...@news.demon.co.uk>,

>> I wrote a full-screen editor in it and it's 15kB? Complete with monstrous
>> amounts of debugging information?

>That's pretty cool.

It gets better --- I'm working on a new improved assembler that produces
smaller, tighter code. Current estimates indicate that it'll reduce binary
sizes by more than 50%. If I add a peephole optimiser to collapse
instructions together, and stop the compiler producing debugging
information (every time it reads a line of source it emits a LINE <n>
instruction) it'll get even smaller.

--
+- David Given ------------McQ-+
| Work: d...@tao.co.uk | The worst thing about censorship is
| Play: dgi...@iname.com | XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
+- http://wiredsoc.ml.org/~dg -+

okbl...@usa.net

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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In article <912695579.21273.0...@news.demon.co.uk>,

dg@ (David Given) wrote:
>
> It gets better --- I'm working on a new improved assembler that produces
> smaller, tighter code. Current estimates indicate that it'll reduce binary
> sizes by more than 50%. If I add a peephole optimiser to collapse
> instructions together, and stop the compiler producing debugging
> information (every time it reads a line of source it emits a LINE <n>
> instruction) it'll get even smaller.
>

So, all we need now is the lifetime assurance that you'll never do anything
else and... ;-)

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