[Gambas-devel] Just a wild thought

ottod otto at ...631...
Fri Apr 3 20:16:35 CEST 2009

I am trying to get the feel of Scala, this Java cousin that promises
scripting-language-like terse syntax and support for functional programming.
It is a very nice language but I think a little on the side of a write-only
language. I love Gambas Basic incarnation, very well modeled. Then I find
all over sites I visit, that Java is well entrenched in the server side and
trying to get some desktop side usage; that .Net is coming from the reverse
road, well used on the desktop and trying to steal some of Java space on the
server. Many people reject the idea of desktop apps, saying web apps is the
way to go, but that at least is contradictory, as the browser itself is a
desktop app. If you make me choose between Vb.net and Gambas for desktop
development, I choose Gambas without thinking twice. I do not even consider
Java, as for me is like trying to write a business app in C. I have been
programming 25 years and for a business app my ideal environment is
something in the line of Foxpro (DOS, Win16, and Win32 versions) and Access.
Data bound controls, reporting, powerful and easy validations, visual grids
for display, easy database querying (people look strange at me when I tell
them LINQ comes from Fox and was there since the 80's).
Now, where is this post heading? Gambas is missing a full working report
component. The language is very nice, the IDE is the best sample program I
have seen for a language. But I think many things are being reinvented here
because Gambas is an island. gb.pdf, gb.report, gb.db.*. With Scala I have
seen them implement the language and the interpreter on top of the JVM, the
compiler generating Java bytecodes, and the language allowing transparent
access to Java massive amount of code from the last decade. So I get a nice
language, much like Paris Hilton, nice looking and with many resources just
inherited from the past. Some people on the Scala lists just hope that Scala
will be THE LANGUAGE for desktop Java development but I think some years of
work are required to get there.
Now the question. Please give me your opinions, pragmatic please, not just
theoretical. You Gambas code gurus, you Master Benoit (sorry I do not know
how to write your name in the right way from a Spanish keyboard): can the
Gambas compiler and interpreter be ported to Java instead of C and plug to
Java components instead of OS/library components? "CAN" being asked in the
sense of a practical time frame and programming talent, not in the sense of
Turing machine possibility...
I mean, what if we could get JasperReports and iReport Java components for
free and consider finished the gb.report component to dedicate resources to
other more interesting problems? gb.qt and gt.gtk replaced by Swing, but
hidden beneath gb.gui and the layout done with the lovely Gambas IDE? Side
effects as the possibility of running on Mac and Windows? Scala, jRuby have
shown that the real value of Java is not the language as it is the platform
itself. jRuby runs faster and safer on the JVM than Ruby's C based VM.
Ruby's source code is not Valgrind safe so when running production code one
does not know how it will behave.
I read somewhere in the Gambas site that Gambas is almost half a million
lines of code. How much of it is core and how much is supporting components?
Is there something in Gambas architecture that will make this truly hard or
mostly impossible? I am testing the waters, maybe from your comments I get
the drive...
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