Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Language and tutorials for the external rule base


I have spent a couple of weeks thinking about how to organize the external rule database for ShapeLogic, and have done more reading about Java 6 Scripting. That should be adequate for my need, but I am reluctant to add more dependencies to ShapeLogic than absolutely necessary.

I am now debating what scripting language would be best for Java 6 Scripting:
Groovy: Comes out as maybe the strongest contender, but I tried Groovy 2 times before only to find out it was not ready for prime time yet, but maybe with version 1.5 it is finally there.
BeanShell 2: It has been in beta for over 2 years and does not seem to be in active development.
Jyton: I have been a big fan of Python for almost 10 years now, but the white space indention does not work so well with code stored in a database or flat file.
JavaScript/Rhino: I like it and people know it, but it would be better if it was a language that was using native Java types.


After seeing a 20 minute screen cast for Ruby on Rail by David Heinemeier Hansson, my new test for if a programming library or language is worth spending time on is if it has a 20 minute screen cast, where they can do something non-trivial. I do not adhere to this rigorously.
Given that I have a thicker Danish accent than David Hansson, I have been looking for other options.
One of my friends Joe Orr, see Joe's blog 3DTree Notebook, has created a very interesting alternative to screen casts called Screenbook Maker, it is a program that takes screen shots of a demonstration and adds text to it, to turn it into a tutorial, which is searchable.
Joe has promised me to help make a Screenbook tutorial when the external rule database is released.

-Sami Badawi

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