I’ve received a few emails from prospective GSOC students interested in doing Jaesop-related work this summer for GSOC. So, to make sure it was a platform that’s fit to be worked on, I fired it up and ran through the tests. Everything passed, which is pretty awesome, except there weren’t a whole heck of a lot of tests to begin with. Saying that 100% of tests covering about 10% of the code passed isn’t saying much with any kind of certainty.

Having a student work on Jaesop, if such a proposal is submitted and accepted, would be quite a boon for that project. In summers past we’ve had students working on compiler-related projects, usually starting with nothing or almost nothing. For instance last year Rohit was working on a JavaScript compiler starting from the ground up and didn’t have a huge amount of luck. Lucian was working on a Python compiler project, disregarding much of the older Pynie project work that had been done. He did better, but would have been able to achieve a lot more if he were starting from a stronger foundation (especially, an improved Python-ready object model). Asking another student to work on a new compiler project this year would not be a great thing for us to do, especially knowing that some of the fundamental issues (i.e. object model) are still not resolved at the lowest level.

Jaesop is slightly different because a student would be starting with a working foundation. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it is something. It is a working piece of code with some of the complexities of the JavaScript object model and library logic already sorted out. To make it an even better platform for launching a summer project, I decided that a few more pieces needed to be added. I feel like it’s the difference between a student who can hit the ground running and one who has to crawl around a few big rocks first.

First thing, I added require() and exports. This way we can do the Common.js analog of loading bytecode files. Here’s a small example that I wrote out, called sys.js:

exports.puts = function(s) {

And here is how we would call that from our program:

var sys = require("sys");
sys.puts("Hello world!");

Doing this kind of stuff is the kind of unnecessary complexity that a student shouldn’t have to worry about. It’s tangential to any problems a student would be solving and so having the student waste time on infrastructure like this would just be taking time away from the actual project.

I’ve also improved logic relating to protypes. It’s not perfect or compliant by any standards, but it’s much much closer to the norm and likely gets us close enough to parsing and running the kinds of non-trivial programs that are going to form the basis of a compiler.

var sys = require("sys");
function Foo() {
    this.a = "foo a";
Foo.prototype.b = "foo_b";

function Bar() {
    this.a = "bar a";
Bar.prototype.b = "bar b";

var f = new Foo();

var b = new Bar();

If I didn’t tell you otherwise, you might think this was normal JavaScript code running on Node.js or some other real JavaScript compiler! This exact code example is running on my machine right now. Prior to my hacking this morning, the code above would either have thrown an error or have printed out the same thing twice because both Foo and Bar function objects would have shared a prototype.

Now that I’ve done this work I feel much better about a Jaesop-based GSOC project happening this summer. Now the responsibility lies with the students to submit acceptable proposals and get to work!