Five curious JVM languages
Scala? Bor-ing. Here are five weird and wonderful projects that demonstrate the diversity of the JVM platform.
In addition to the now-vanilla Clojure, Scala and Groovy, the JVM has some pretty eccentric languages. Some are simple research projects, while others have probably had million-dollar budgets – but all are worth checking out, if only for their oddness.Since the introduction of invokedynamic in Java 7, the JVM ecosystem has skyrocketed (Wikipedia lists almost 100 languages). However, the idea of building other languages on top of the Java Virtual Machine is nothing new: some of these date back further than a decade.
height = 3 feet gravitation = 9.80665 m/s^2 mass = 60 kg potential_energy = height * gravitation * mass println[potential_energy -> joules] // Display in joulesHaving been around since 2001, there are now visual ports of Frink and even a JSP-like “Frink Server Pages”.
Each Hollywood movie has its own reboot, reasons the homepage of phpreboot, so why not do the same to PHP? This do-over of the enduring popular language ditches semicolons, $ signs on variables and, while it’s at it, that pesky var keyword too. That’s not to say that phpreboot is entirely negative: it adds native XML, JSON, regex and SQL syntax support, among other changes.Java dev Rémi Forax created phpreboot in part to show off the potential of invokedynamic. Unfortunately, he has since apparently abandoned the project – phpreboot has been in stasis since 2011.
Many languages claim to be optimised for use by humans, not computers, but only one can objectively claim to be the easiest to grasp. Quorum has been iteratively designed through “formal empirical studies with human subjects”, and the result is a very clean syntax reminiscent of Ruby.Awarded a Duke’s Choice Award in 2011 (and covered by JAXenter), Quorum is still under active development. It may not appeal to grizzled programmers, but this plucky little language could be a good way to ease newbies into coding.
This Sun Microsystems research project, influenced by both Fortran and various forms of pseudocode, precedes most JVM languages. However, it never truly graduated from Sun’s labs, and was finally axed last year after three years at Oracle.The source code remains online under a BSD license – but, judging by the lack of community interest, it seems that Fortress has been no more successful in death than it was in life.