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gazette #17: capitalize Chicken, Scheme, Lisp and REPL :-)

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1((title . "Issue 17")
2 (authors  "Moritz Heidkamp" "Christian Kellermann" "Felix Winkelmann")
3 (date . 1294687464))
5== 0. Introduction
7Dear reader,
9The authors wish you all a happy, healthy and successful year 2011. So
10welcome to the first issue of 2011, number 17 of the Chicken
11Gazette. Although it has been a while since the last issue so we hope
12you will enjoy the lengthy period of coverage. After this short hiatus
13we intend to pick up a bi-weekly release schedule.
15== 1. The Hatching Farm
17The following new egg releases have taken place:
19* [[user:peter-bex|Peter Bex]]
20** [[egg:intarweb|intarweb 0.6]] (changed path parameters on cookies)
21** [[egg:http-client|http-client 0.3]] (fixes related to cookies)
22** [[egg:sendfile|sendfile 1.7.3]] (update for removed foreign type in development Chicken)
23** [[egg:md5|md5 2.4,]] 2.5 (updates for dev. Chicken, made C functions static)
24** [[egg:sha1|sha1 2.2.2,]] 2.3 (same here)
25** [[egg:sha2|sha2 2.1.1]] (same here)
26** [[egg:spiffy|spiffy 4.11]] (enhancements and modularization)
27* [[user:mario-domenech-goulart|Mario Domenech Goulart]]
28** [[egg:html-tags|html-tags 0.9]] (enhancements, correct test exit status code)
29** [[egg:accents-substitute|accents-substitute 0.3]] (Turkish support)
30** [[egg:awful|awful 0.28]] (many enhancements)
31* [[user:moritz-heidkamp|Moritz Heidkamp]]
32** [[egg:uri-match|uri-match 0.4]] (cleanup)
33** [[egg:vandusen|vandusen 0.7]] (irregex support)
34* [[user:kon-lovett|Kon Lovett]]
35** [[egg:uuid-ossp|uuid-ossp 1.22]] (version numbering change)
36* [[user:ivan-raikov|Ivan Raikov]]
37** [[egg:byte-blob|byte-blob 1.8]] (bugfixes)
38** [[egg:mpd-client|mpd-client 1.13]] (simplifications)
39** [[egg:interval-digraph|interval-digraph 1.1,]] 1.2 (enhancements)
40* [[user:jim-ursetto|Jim Ursetto]]
41** [[egg:chicken-doc-html|chicken-doc-html 0.2.1,]] 0.2.2 (bugfixes, added missing dependency)
42** [[egg:atom|atom 0.1.2]] (fixed missing dependency on {{regex}} extension)
43** [[egg:svnwiki-sxml|svnwiki-sxml 0.2.10]] (missing test-dependency)
44** [[egg:vector-lib|vector-lib 1.2.1,]] 1.2.2 (missing test-dependency, tests exit with status 1 on test-failure)
45** [[egg:base64|base64 3.3.1]] (test exit status)
46** [[egg:rfc3339|rfc3339 0.1.1]] (missing test-dependency, test exit status)
47** [[egg:regex-literals|regex-literals 1.0.4]] (missing {{regex}} dependency)
48** [[egg:php-s11n|php-s11n 1.0.3]] (same here)
49** [[egg:pdf|pdf 1.0.1]] (guess)
50** [[egg:chicken-doc|chicken-doc 0.4.2]] (indentation tweaks - he takes this stuff seriously! missing {{regex}} dependency)
51* [[user:alaric-blagrave-snellpym|Alaric Blagrave Snell-Pym]]
52** [[egg:banterpixra|banterpixra 0.1]] (enhancements)
53* [[user:felix-winkelmann|Felix Winkelmann]]
54** [[egg:sequences|sequences 0.1]] (dependency fixes)
55** [[egg:tinyclos|tinyclos 1.8.4]] (removed use of {{randomize}}, which is broken in the current Chicken release)
56** [[egg:coops|coops 1.1]] (bugfixes)
57** [[egg:test|test]] (replaced use of {{getenv}})
58** [[egg:honu|honu 1.6]] (bugfixes)
59** [[egg:easyffi|easyffi 1.99.5]] (generated code used now removed foreign type {{pointer}})
60** [[egg:bind|bind 0.92]] (same issue, fixed test cases)
61** [[egg:cairo|cairo 0.1.8]] (removed {{pointer}} type)
62** [[egg:sdl|sdl 0.5.2]] (the same)
63** [[egg:ezxdisp|ezxdisp 2.6]] (same)
64** [[egg:fast-generic|fast-generic 0.4]] (bugfixes)
65** [[egg:fps|fps 1.1.4]] (used removed {{getenv}})
66** [[egg:qt-light|qt-light 0.96]] (added support for changed include-directory in dev. Chicken)
67** [[egg:unix-sockets|unix-sockets 1.5]] (missing import and removed {{pointer}})
69Extensions that have been added:
71* [[user:moritz-heidkamp|Moritz Heidkamp]] is working heavily on an interface to [[|PulseAudio]], a Linux sound server and ''mojo'', a simplified [[egg:ncurses|ncurses]] API.
72* [[user:peter-bex|Peter Bex]] released [[egg::crypt|crypt]], which allows secure password hashing.
73* [[user:christian-kellermann|Christian Kellermann]] released [[egg:isbn|isbn]], which allows parsing ISBN numbers and querying [[]] and [[]].
74* [[user:ivan-raikov|Ivan Raikov]] added [[egg:flsim|flsim]], a simple applicative language for numerical simulation.
76== 2. Core development
78Quite a number of bugs have been fixed, namely {{normalize-pathname}} (files unit)
79and {{time->seconds}} (srfi-18 unit), which returned incorrect results (reported by
80[[user:alan-post|Alan Post]]).
82Single-char symbols were not correctly escaped by the printer.
84[[user:peter-bex|Peter Bex]] discovered a bug in the handling of internal
85definitions in bodies and kindly provided a fix.
87Some bugs in the mingw/msys makefiles have been fixed.
89[[user::kon-lovett|Kon Lovett]] and Julian Altfas pointed out errors in
90the internal type-database.
92{{file-creation-mode}} has been added to the {{posix}} unit, in
93response to the accepted [[ticket:424|change-request #424]].
95The [[ticket:441|change request]] for special handling of procedures
96in {{equal?}}/{{equal=?}} has been implemented.
98{{unsigned-integer64}} was not available as a result-type (thanks to
99[[user:moritz-heidkamp|Moritz Heidkamp]] for pointing this out).
101The recently added {{-picky}} option has been removed again! It turned out
102that the generated warnings were incorrect in many cases and situations that
103ought to be covered where not handled.
105The build options for {{PROGRAM_PREFIX}} and {{PROGRAM_SUFFIX}} are now
106applied to all installed directories and files, so it is possible to
107install multiple CHICKEN versions in the same {{PREFIX}}. The header-files
108have moved into a subdirectory.
110The last remnants of support for MS Visual C have been removed. Thank god.
112The names of toplevel-entry points for library units can now contain
113arbitrary characters. Since the naming conversion is not backwards
114compatible, bootstrapping may be a bit tricky.
116Some useless warnings have been removed.
118The runtime system now uses ISO C number predicates for detecting NaN
119and infinity - this change needed quite a number of changes in the
120header files which hopefully don't break builds too much.
122In an somewhat overeager cleaning-up spree many deprecated procedures have
123been removed: {{time->milliseconds}}, {{milliseconds->time}}, {{project}},
124{{global-ref}} and friends, {{left-section}}, {{right-section}}, {{noop}},
125{{getenv}} and the {{pointer}}, {{nonnull-pointer}}, {{byte-vector}} and
126{{nonnull-byte-vector}} foreign types. This broke a number of eggs, but
127most have been fixed by now.
129The binary version has been increased. This means all eggs have to be reinstalled
130(which is advisable anyway, since a lot of things have been changed that may
131affect binary compatibility).
133== 3. Chicken Talk
135The mailing lists have seen a lot of talk during the last few
136weeks. David Dreisigmeyer started a few threads about problems he
137encountered when
138[[|compiling Chicken with LLVM's clang]]
139and when
140[[|trying to use SWIG for bindings]]. Felix
141noted that SWIG is not really maintained anymore so it is probably
142better forget about it and use
143[[manual:Interface to external functions and variables|Chicken's FFI]]
146[[user:christian-kellermann|Christian Kellermann]] finally got a reply
147by the [[|FOSDEM]] organizers. Unfortunatley
148[[|he had to tell us that our application for a booth got rejected this time]]. However,
149we decided to attend FOSDEM from 5-6 February 2011 anyway, so if you
150are interested in meeting some Chicken hackers save the date! Although
151we didn't get a booth, Felix could manage to sneak in a lightning talk
152about Chicken's implementation strategy (Cheney on the MTA). If that's
153your kind of thing you should definitely stop by!
155[[|Matt Welland had some issues]]
156with [[egg:tinyclos|tinyclos]] on Windows systems. One information may
157be of interest for the broader Chicken public here: if you want to use
158a classical object system in a new project you may want to choose
159[[egg:coops|coops]] over Tiny-CLOS for it is actively worked on and
160implemented to be very efficient
162Joe Python posted a
163[[|Christmas wish for parallel map]],
164i.e. a way to apply `map` in parallel. Jörg F. Wittenberger replied
165with some code which allows offloading arbitrary thunks to
166pthreads. Very interesting hack!
168Probably the nicest mail of the last few weeks was Nick Gasson's
169[[|announcement of his work on a SLIME backend for Chicken]]. Check
170out this issue's Omelette Recipes for details on how to use it.
173== 4. Omelette Recipes
175Today I would like to introduce a really promising work in progress,
176that surely folks in the #chicken channel greatly enjoy so far: Mr. [[
178Gasson]] [[|announced]]
182that he has implemented a backend for
183[[|SLIME]]: The Superior Lisp
184Interaction Mode for Emacs.
186Slime has many things to offer for Emacs users: A REPL integrated into
187your favorite editor, including debugger, help system and auto
188completion. While other modes for Lisp and Chicken, such as the built
189in scheme-mode, quack, cluck, and scheme-complete also offer a REPL in
190a buffer, by executing the interpreter directly, slime offers a client
191/ server framework.
193The architecture looks closely like this (taken from Tobias
194Rittweiler's Presentation on SLIME via
195[[|Bill Clementson's article]]):
197[[image:/img/17/slime-swank.jpg|Picture showing slimes client server architecture]]
199The dotted box on the right is the block Nick has implemented up to a
200point it is usable for testing on a wider scale. Preparations are
201under way to make his work available through the usual
202''chicken-install'' mechanism, but for now you need to pull it from Nick's github:
204 git clone git://
206Also you need to grab SLIME from cvs (this is recommended by its authors):
208 cvs -d co slime
210Now add to your ''.emacs''
212 (setq slime-csi-path "/path/to/csi")
213 (setq swank-chicken-path nil)
214 (add-to-list 'load-path "~/lib/emacs/slime/")  ; your SLIME directory
215 (require 'slime)
216 (slime-setup '(slime-fancy slime-banner))
217 (autoload 'chicken-slime "chicken-slime" "SWANK backend for Chicken" t)
218 (add-hook 'scheme-mode-hook
219          (lambda ()
220            (slime-mode t)))
223Now copy the file ''chicken-slime.el'' from the ''swank-chicken''
224directory into slime's. Build the chicken-swank module with (sudo)
225chicken-install in the ''swank-chicken'' directory.
227Reload your ''.emacs'' and start a repl with 'M-x chicken-slime'.
229You will be presented with a CSI> prompt waiting for a nice chicken
230expression to munch on. So what can you do now?
233* Pressing '','' allows you to enter special slime commands, typing
234  ''help'' will list them all. ''sayoonara'' quits all of slime if you
235  want to quit Scheme hacking.
237* Start entering an sexpr calling a function, for example enter
238  ''(fold''. Notice how the minibuffer will display the signature of
239  the procedure fold. No need to lookup the order of arguments again!
241* Also if you do have an index for [[egg:chicken-doc]] installed,
242  typing ''C-c C-d d'' will open up the chicken-doc page for the
243  procedure or module under point (the name of the cursor in emacs).
245* In case you need to lookup a procedure but you only remember parts
246  of the name you can type ''C-c C-d a'' and enter a (chicken) regexp
247  which will then produce a list of possible choices. To look up all
248  procedures with ''string'' in their name you can type ''C-c C-d a
249  string <return>'' and it will show a rather long list. Hitting
250  return on any of the results will open the chicken-doc section of
251  this command. Try ''list->string '' as an example.
253* Loading of Scheme code can be done with files (''C-c C-l'') or
254  s-expressions (''C-c C-c'') in Scheme file buffers. ''C-x C-e''
255  evaluates the last expression before point, ''C-x C-r'' evaluates
256  marked regions of code.
258* In case you have an error in your code or the code raises a
259  condition you will get thrown into the slime lisp debugger
260  SLDB. This shows you the recent call-chain leading to the
261  error. Hitting ''q'' will close the window and will get you back
262  wherever you have been before.
264The more curious can try Christian's experimental git repo, which
265includes some bugfixes not (yet) present in Nick's code: Display of
266stack frame contents as know by the CSI '',c'' and '',f'' commands.
267To get the goodness you can pull from the repo like this:
269 $ cd path/to/swank-chicken
270 $ git pull
272Restart slime and try the following expression:
274 CSI> (let ((a 42) (b 'test)) (+ a b))
276An SLDB window will open up showing a call chain, hit enter on the
277first frame that says ''[ more... ]''. You will see the values of
278''a'' and ''b''. Implementation for the inspector is on its way as
279well as inspection of the raised condition.
281Also note that because of the client server architecture, you can
282connect to repls that are sitting on remote machines! The default port
283is 4005, so you start csi on the remote machine:
285 $ csi -R swank -e'(swank-server-start)'
287And connect to it with ''M-x slime-connect''. The default tries to
288connect to localhost on port 4005, so you will need to adjust
289the hostname. And off you go with your remote repl!
291Also note that SLIME does support different REPLs, even different
292backends at the same time, so you can easily test code on different
293machines, probably different architectures! Linux, Windows, Mac
294Schemes are all bound into one interface one keystroke away. The short
295but fine [[|Slime
296manual]] explains all the possible customizations.
298Beware that despite the admirable effort from Nick, not every
299function is implemented. Some functionality cannot be implemented due
300to Chicken being Scheme and not Lisp, some might have been forgotten
301about or not understood fully yet, as the underlying SWANK protocol
302is badly documented.
304In any case I have been using this since Christmas and I already
305like it. I hope you do too! Please share your criticism, suggestions
306and patches on chicken-users with the fellow Chickenistas!
308== 5. About the Chicken Gazette
310The Gazette is produced bi-weekly by a volunteer from the Chicken
311community. The latest issue can be found at
312[[]] or you can follow it in your feed
313reader at [[]]. If you'd like to
314write an issue, [[|consult the wiki]]
315for the schedule and instructions!
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