Springer and Scala

I need to learn the Scala programming language. Unfortunately the University of York’s library does not seem to have an electronic copy of “Programming in Scala” (Amazon link) but it did have an electronic copy of  Springer’s “A Beginner’s Guide to Scala” (Amazon link). But this is a very poor book, referring back to examples that don’t exist, offering a very confusing explanation as to what object-orientation is and, to cap it all, illustrating examples with pseudo code rather than Scala itself.

Of course, it’s not the worst example you’ll find from Springer – “Unleash the System on Chip using FPGAs…” is easily the worst book I have ever seen in print (see my review on Amazon here) – and, of course they also publish many useful books and conference proceedings and so on. But they appear to have close to a monopoly on many aspects of computer science publications and use that ruthlessly.

If it wasn’t for other factors I’d suggest the European Commission needs to take a close look at them. Hardly worth it in the UK’s case these days though.

BASIC as a domain specific language

A few posts back I was bemoaning the end of the simplicity of the BASICs I used thirty years ago – then I could just write a few lines to visually solve an equation and so on.

Cartridge with BASIC computing language for At...
Cartridge with BASIC computing language for Atari 8 bit computers. Model CXL4002. Photo by the uploader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That got me thinking about how to recreate that as domain specific language (DSL) – writing some other code that interprets the graphics primitives to put dots and lines on the screen. That pit seems quite simple. But, of course, to be able to plot a function you need to implement the maths code too – including some relatively complex stuff like SIN, COS, TAN etc.

And, presumably, you would also want loops to advance your parameters along a bit as well – pretty soon you would end up implementing a fairly substantial BASIC interpreter.

Still a project worth thinking about in my view – but it seems someone, not surprisingly, has already done this – treating BASIC as a DSL using Scala.