Phillip Pearson - web + electronics notes

tech notes and web hackery from a new zealander who was vaguely useful on the web back in 2002 (see: python community server, the blogging ecosystem, the new zealand coffee review, the internet topic exchange).


Open Source release of Frontier?

Wow - UserLand plans open-source release of Frontier kernel. The kernel includes things like the UserTalk script interpreter, all the UserTalk builtin functions, the Frontier ODB and the Frontier web server.

I don't expect that it will gather as many developers as the big open source scripting languages, but it would be a worthy addition to the community. It used to be cutting-edge, and the system still has a bunch of great ideas, despite having been surpassed in various areas (speed, reliability, debuggability, popularity) by other competitors. Enough to be worth saving, for sure.

Just off the top of my head, I can think of some interesting projects to do with the Frontier source:

- remove the dependency on the GUI, so it could be run as a Windows service on NT/2K/XP (as modern server software does).

- once that's done, a UNIX port might not be so hard. Presumably it's fairly portable already, as right now it runs on two different versions of Mac OS as well as Windows.

- perhaps after those two, or perhaps first, someone could rip out UserTalk and make a standalone interpreter, so you can use it the way you might use Perl or Python at the moment.

- this is a bit of a long shot, but if you could make the UserTalk interpreter support the Python module API or something similar, a whole bunch of open source libraries (DB access, etc) would suddenly be within reach.

Anyway, that's all for now. Announcements of open-source releases usually precede the actual releases by quite a while, so don't hold your breath. When this release actually happens, though, it will be a lot of fun :-)

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