Transpile across languages at hyperspeed

Generate code for multiple platforms with Zolang

Jane Elizabeth
© Shutterstock / Anibal Trejo

Looking for a new, lightweight frontend for any other general purpose language? Introducing Zolang, a programming language that lets developers transpile across languages through the stars.

Sometimes, you just need a programming language that adapts to its surroundings. With Zolang, developers can utilize this language’s unique shapeshifting abilities to switch between languages to their heart’s content.

Although it has relatively limited features and no standard library yet, Zolang has potential. Now, there’s no need for an attack of endless, language-specific clones; Zolang transpiles to an entire universe of languages, including Kotlin, Swift, and Python.

Initially developed at a startup, Zolang was designed to deal with a rapidly evolving technology stack written in four different languages. Every time there was a major change to the stack, it caused problems with the many languages involved. Zolang solved this issue. Now, there’s a model layer for the application with a single source of truth, to generate code for all of the programming languages.

It maintains its lightweight approach by offloading code generation to the users through the Stencil (template language) specification files. However, it is possible that these spec files could generate Zolang output for any kind of text. This makes Zolang a decent lightweight alternative to many other cross-platform frameworks.

Although it is lightweight, Zolang does offer a number of features, like hot reloading, four primitive types, operators, comments, variable declarations, functions, and more. Upcoming features include support for dictionary, faster compilation, and type checking.

Just for reference, the name Zolang isn’t a Dutch phrase meaning “so long as”. Fulfilling all kinds of stereotypes, it’s actually a Star Wars reference. Who wouldn’t want to name their programming language after a bunch of shapeshifting alien lizard people? After all, Zolang itself shapeshifts, generating code for multiple platforms.

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Getting Zolang

No matter what side of the Force you ascribe to, Zolang is freely available on GitHub to Jedi developers and Sith hackers alike. You should already have Swift installed. Additionally, Zolang is best with Visual Studio Code using the zolang-ide extension. As a small project, any help or feedback is welcome. Good luck, and may the Force be with you.

Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for

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