Programming, Software and Code

Octave Data

I played around a little bit today with my Octave implementation, and I'm happy to say that I had a major breakthrough and was able to get functions working, mostly. Now, for instance, the following code works as expected:
function [c] = circumference(r)
c = 2 * pi() * r;

x = circumference(5)

Which will dutifully print out the expected result:
x =


Despite the square brackets in the function declaration, I haven't gotten matrices up and running yet, although they are basically the next thing on the list. I've created a basic "OctaveData" super class, and am going to create a series of sub-classes for the various data items (matrices, scalars, cell arrays). The superclass will contain a flag for the data type, so that functions can determine the types of input arguments (probably through the isa() function) and act accordingly.

When an identifier is found, we can search a list for it. There will be several lists, one for top-level declarations, one for the current lexical scope, and one for variables declared as "global". I search the list for the given variable, and if it is found, I can return the value. In the case of a matrix, the following call:
y = x(1, 2)

Will return the element from column 1, row 2 of matrix x. However, if no variables are found in any of the lists, a dispatch method is called to find and call a function by that name. If x in our example above is a function, the dispatch method will return the result of function x with the arguments 1 and 2. The benefit to having a dispatch method is that I can centralize the search function and the wrap-the-return-values-into-a-matrix functionality in the same place, and only have to deal with it once.

I have some basic loop structures that I stole from Squaak, and I need to tweak them a little bit so they match the Octave syntax more closely. With loops, subroutines, and aggregate data types, I will basically be in a position to start reproducing standard library functions. I'm pretty impressed with the progress I've been making, especially considering how little time I have on a regular basis to work on it.

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