Yet Another Programming Language

7th February, 2006

For a while now, perhaps the last 15 years, I've had the urge to write my own programming language. I know that there are thousands of people qualified to build a good language, but deep down, I still reckon I could build something better.

But here's the rub: better than what? In what way, and why? Well, here is the set of criteria on which I am basing my language:

  1. it will be written by me
  2. it will be interpreted
  3. the scripts in the language will be readable
  4. the source that implements the language will be readable
  5. the implementation will be in C
  6. and none of that fancy C either
  7. the source will, if possible, total less than 1000 lines

To answer my questions, for me, the closer a language comes to meeting the needs laid out in one's set of criteria, the better it is. If your favorite language, or maybe the one you've just written, doesn't match the above set (ignoring #1), that's not a problem. You just need to make sure it matches your own criteria.

The point to note about the above list is that I came up with it before I started designing and writing the language. I've stuck to it too, otherwise by my argument, the language wouldn't do what I wanted and would therefore be pretty useless.

I'm still writing my language; I don't feel I want to show it to the world before at least the core is complete. What I will say is that at home I've been working on little else since a few days before Christmas. However, the experience has already been fruitful in that at least one lesson has become very clear: do not design and write a programming language.