Jamie Balfour

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Jamie Balfour'sPersonal blog

Jamie Balfour'sPersonal blog

Finally, union types are accepted in ZPE 1.11.4. The March release known as OmegaZ will now include union return types:

function doubleNum(integer $x) : integer | real
  return $x * 2
end function
print(doubleNum(2))

It will also soon support union parameter and variable declarations which are expected in OmegaY also. This further expansion of ZPE's TYPO nudges TYPO to version 2.1. All of this new stuff has been added with almost no performance penalty at all. 

Since TYPO was introduced and then upgraded to TYPO v2, typing has become a big thing for YASS. The standard library uses types on all built-in functions and all of my own programs are moving to be typed. One of the new features that is coming to ZPE in the near future is forcing typing and disallowing the execution of programs that don't use strong typing. But before that, ZPE is looking to bring union types.

Union types are crucially important for return types on functions which may need to return two separate data types. Rather than using the very abstract mixed type, these functions would use the union type. Assume the following function which returns an integer (the index of the found item) or a Boolean false if the item is not found. Using types with this function currently means specifying a mixed type to allow both integer or Boolean return types:

function linearSearch(string searchTerm, list items) : mixed

This same program could be written with union types as shown below:

function linearSearch(string searchTerm, list items) : integer | boolean

This is a much less abstract and more concrete solution to the problem, forcing the return type to be one or the other. This is the first step in union types, as union types will also come to variable declaration, but this isn't planned to come any time soon.

One of the features that I most wanted to bring to ZPE this year was inline iteration. This has been one of the top features on my board of features for ZPE. 

Inline incrementation will be the headline feature of the next version of ZPE and will be available from the OmegaY version of ZPE (version 1.11.2+) and it brings an easy way to create ZPELists with very minimal effort. Not only that, it's actually very fast, taking advantage of ZPE's performance in the for...to loops that I spent tireless hours working on.

It's pretty lovely too:

YASS
print(from 0 to 1000 : function($x) { return $x * 2 })

I'm also seeking to improve file transfer performance as well as bring in remote SFTP-like features into the language too.

One of the most exciting features coming to ZPE is cloud variables. This will allow booleans, strings, integers, reals and much more to be stored and retrieved from a ZPE Online account. This will, however, only work while the user is logged into the cloud. 

This is intended as the headline feature of ZPE 1.11.1. 

There is a possibility that serialisation of objects will come later too. 

The new global keyword that has come to ZPE is one that totally changes the way in which nested functions can be used. It's actually awesome in the way it works too as it doesn't break existing code (recompilation is required) as it still works with the same syntax as the function call from before. 

Performance-wise, it's much better. Feature-wise, this means that you can nest a function declaration inside an if statement and declare it as global in the if statement. This is awesome and it was by accident that I discovered this was already partially implemented in previous versions.

ZPE 1.10.12 will be available on the 12th or 13th of December.

The headline feature of ZPE 1.10.10, known as Lusty Lion, will be MQTT support. As an MQTT user myself, having MQTT support in ZPE will be a welcome addition. ZPE 1.10.10 will also reintroduce the MySQL features to ZPE.

ZPE 1.10.10 will also introduce minor performance improvements and will be the second version that will be available in native images as well as a JAR.

The new version of ZPE is out now in beta stages, and it's pretty awesome, to say the least.

ZPE 1.10.7, aka Hasty Hyena, is quite symbolic since it now features symlink features. 

The three new functions, which currently remain undocumented, are able to add symbolic links, check if a file is a link, and the best one, replace a part of a link. 

The last function here is the most interesting and useful. I came up with the idea since I often need to update links on my Linux-based systems and must delete the whole link and then relink it. This function takes in the original link, figures out the exact path it points to, converts the path to a string and replaces the search term with the new replacement, moves the old link and then writes the new link to the old link path. This is something that will save me time on my server for sure.

It also brings the new run_in function, another extremely useful function that runs a function (or a lambda function) in a certain number of milliseconds, either continuously or just once. 

Finally, create_cron_job is another new function coming to ZPE later this month, as well as a new command line that's also coming along. This will allow you to schedule cron jobs that ZPE will handle. The command line is designed to be run through the -x mode and will continue running in the background. ZPE aims to simplify the whole process of creating cron jobs, and will also store the actual commands in JSON files that make it easier to modify them later.

It was never my intention to release a new version of ZPE every year, and given that some releases are considerably bigger than others this would be difficult to sustain. However, 2022 has actually led to just that - ZPE has released once a month, and the version numbers, as a result, tie-up with the release dates.

For the foreseeable future, ZPE will continue to follow this and one new minor version will be released monthly, no matter what. I will devise a scheme for deciding when a new version will be released to the public. This is actually very similar to the way that Ubuntu's naming scheme goes. 

Further to this, if changes are made to the YASS syntax from this moment on, YASS will move to a new version based on the month it was updated. At present, YASS sits at version 22 since the last changes were made in 2022, but if changes were made in, say October 2022, YASS would become version 22.10.

This year's codenames are a bit more fun than chosing place names or locations. This year I have chosen several animals, much like how Canonical does with Ubuntu's codenames. As always the list can be added or removed from. Here they are for ZPE 1.10:

  • 1.10.1: Amazing Aardvark
  • 1.10.2: Commendable Cat
  • 1.10.3: Dazzling Dog
  • 1.10.4: Exceptional Elephant
  • 1.10.5: Fantastic Fox
  • 1.10.6: Great Giraffe
  • 1.10.7: Hasty Hyena 
  • 1.10.8: Jolly Jellyfish
  • 1.10.9: Lusty Lion
  • 1.10.10: Proud Penguin
  • 1.10.11: Worthy Whale
  • 1.10.12: Zippy Zebra

So what do you think? Are the Amazing Aardvarks and Zippy Zebras going to be good codenames for ZPE?

ZPE 1.10 plans to brings many new features to ZPE, ranging from simple things like performance improvements (plenty have been planned out) and bug fixes, to more complex things. This post will discuss the first of many new features that will come to ZPE over the next year.

Firstly, the Zenith Parsing Engine 1.5. As a result of writing the Zippidydoda syntax highlighter, I have identified a new method to make parsing more efficient within the Zenith Parsing Engine. Within the next few weeks I will launch version 1.5 of my syntax parser which will have further optimisations.

Secondly, speaking of optimisations, I have plans to bring precompiled JSON, CSV and XML to ZPE. What this means is that the code will be precompiled at compile time which will speed up runtime.

Thirdly, static variables will come to ZPE in 2022, bringing many benefits and new features including the singleton pattern. Static variables have been seen as being a requirement for a long while now.

The fourth thing I'm working on is the new ZPE Online includes feature. I am aiming to have this done by the end of the month and ready for ZPE 1.10.1 but I'm not sure if it will be ready. 

ZPE 1.9.13 will be the last version to feature the ZPE UI features as ZPE 1.10.1 will remove this from ZPE. This will be moved to the ZPE UI library, a free, opensource library. It will be very easy to reintegrate these features into ZPE again once the library becomes active again.

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