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  • Variable declaration versus assignment syntax

    - by rwallace
    Working on a statically typed language with type inference and streamlined syntax, and need to make final decision about syntax for variable declaration versus assignment. Specifically I'm trying to choose between: // Option 1. Create new local variable with :=, assign with = foo := 1 foo = 2 // Option 2. Create new local variable with =, assign with := foo = 1 foo := 2 Creating functions will use = regardless: // Indentation delimits blocks square x = x * x And assignment to compound objects will do likewise: sky.color = blue a[i] = 0 Which of options 1 or 2 would people find most convenient/least surprising/otherwise best?

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  • Finding header files

    - by rwallace
    A C or C++ compiler looks for header files using a strict set of rules: relative to the directory of the including file (if "" was used), then along the specified and default include paths, fail if still not found. An ancillary tool such as a code analyzer (which I'm currently working on) has different requirements: it may for a number of reasons not have the benefit of the setup performed by a complex build process, and have to make the best of what it is given. In other words, it may find a header file not present in the include paths it knows, and have to take its best shot at finding the file itself. I'm currently thinking of using the following algorithm: Start in the directory of the including file. Is the header file found in the current directory or any subdirectory thereof? If so, done. If we are at the root directory, the file doesn't seem to be present on this machine, so skip it. Otherwise move to the parent of the current directory and go to step 2. Is this the best algorithm to use? In particular, does anyone know of any case where a different algorithm would work better?

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  • Creating a new variable versus assigning an existing one

    - by rwallace
    Which is more common, creating a new variable versus assigning an existing variable (field, array element etc - anything that syntactically uses the assignment operator)? The reason I ask is that I'm designing a new language, and wondering which of these two operations should get the shorter syntax. It's not intended to be a pure functional language, or the question wouldn't arise, so I'd ideally like to count usage across large existing code bases in procedural and object-oriented languages like C, C++ and Java, though as far as I can see there isn't an easy way to do this automatically, and going by memory and eyeball, neither is obviously more common than the other.

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  • SQL Server without Powershell

    - by rwallace
    I'm trying to install SQL Server 2008 Express Edition, and it's demanding Windows Powershell and refusing to proceed with the installation. Is there any way to get it to install without Powershell? (The reason I'm asking is not so much for myself personally as to reduce the number of headaches through which I'm going to have to drag other people when I tell them my program needs SQL Server.)

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  • Installing a program on Linux: providing a short command

    - by rwallace
    Suppose you're distributing a program to run on Linux, call it Foo, and the program executable is called foo.exe (because it's a CLR program so it runs under Mono) and it needs a couple of DLLs in the same directory and maybe a later version might need some data files that it reads on startup and whatever, so relocating it to a global bin directory is a bit of hassle and it really prefers to remain in its original directory... But the user would prefer to invoke the program by typing foo instead of mono /path/to/foo.exe. What's the best/most usual way to provide such a short command? Can/should an install script/makefile create a one line script called foo that invokes the full path, and put the one line script in a global bin directory? If so, what should be the target bin directory, and are there any directions about exactly how to do this? Or is there a preferred alternative?

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  • Staying on a registered-only IRC channel

    - by rwallace
    Freenode, like other IRC servers, has the property that one's connection will drop at the slightest hiccup. Fortunately mIRC knows to automatically reconnect when this happens. The problem lies with some channels such as #ai, which cannot be joined unless one's nickname is registered. mIRC doesn't know how to send the password to NickServ, and even if it did, at the time it reconnects, the original connection is still present on the server as a ghost; it doesn't know to wait a few minutes for the original connection to be garbage collected; thus it is not able to stay on such channels. Is there a way to solve this problem either with mIRC or some other IRC client that runs on Windows?

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  • On Linux/Unix, does .tar.gz versus .zip matter?

    - by rwallace
    Cross-platform programs are sometimes distributed as .tar.gz for the Unix version and .zip for the Windows version. This makes sense when the contents of each must be different. If, however, the contents are going to be the same, it would be simpler to just have one download. Windows prefers .zip because that's the format it can handle out of the box. Does it matter on Unix? That is, I tried today unzipping a file on Ubuntu Linux, and it worked fine; is there any problem with this on any current Unix-like operating system, or is it okay to just provide a .zip file across the board?

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  • Windows batch file reference to own directory

    - by rwallace
    Suppose you have C:\foo\foo.bat which needs to refer to C:\foo\foo.txt. It may be run from a different directory, but needs to get foo.txt from its own directory, not the current directory. Obviously this could be done by putting the full path C:\foo\foo.txt in foo.bat. The twist is, it's not known at the time of writing the batch file, where it will end up residing on the user's machine, so what the batch file actually needs to do is get foo.txt from the directory where I live, wherever that happens to be. (In a C program I'd use argv[0] but that doesn't seem to work with batch files.) Is there a way to do this?

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  • On Linux/Unix, does .tar.gz versus .zip matter?

    - by rwallace
    Cross-platform programs are sometimes distributed as .tar.gz for the Unix version and .zip for the Windows version. This makes sense when the contents of each must be different. If, however, the contents are going to be the same, it would be simpler to just have one download. Windows prefers .zip because that's the format it can handle out of the box. Does it matter on Unix? That is, I tried today unzipping a file on Ubuntu Linux, and it worked fine; is there any problem with this on any current Unix-like operating system, or is it okay to just provide a .zip file across the board?

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  • SQLite vs Firebird

    - by rwallace
    The scenario I'm looking at is "This program uses Postgres. Oh, you want to just use it single-user for the moment, and put off having to deal with installing a database server? Okay, in the meantime you can use it with the embedded single-user database." The question is then which embedded database is best. As I understand it, the two main contenders are SQLite and Firebird; so which is better? Criteria: Full SQL support, or as close as reasonably possible. Full text search. Easy to call from C# Locks, or allows you to lock, the database file to make sure nobody tries to run it multiuser and ends up six months down the road with intermittent data corruption in all their backups. Last but far from least, reliability. As I understand it, the disadvantages of SQLite are, No right outer join. Workaround: use left outer join instead. Not much integrity checking. Workaround: be really careful in the application code. No decimal numbers. Workaround: lots of aspirin. None of the above are showstoppers. Are there any others I'm missing? (I know it doesn't support some administrative and code-within-database SQL features, that aren't relevant for this kind of use case.) I don't know anything much about Firebird. What are its disadvantages?

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  • Programmatically creating a toolbar in WPF

    - by rwallace
    I'm trying to create a simple toolbar in WPF, but the toolbar shows up with no corresponding buttons on it, just a very thin blank white strip. Any idea what I'm doing wrong, or what the recommended procedure is? Relevant code fragments so far: var tb = new ToolBar(); var b = new Button(); b.Command = comback; Image myImage = new Image(); myImage.Source = new BitmapImage(new Uri("back.png", UriKind.Relative)); b.Content = myImage; tb.Items.Add(b); var p = new DockPanel(); //DockPanel.SetDock(mainmenu, Dock.Top); DockPanel.SetDock(tb, Dock.Top); DockPanel.SetDock(sb, Dock.Bottom); //p.Children.Add(mainmenu); p.Children.Add(tb); p.Children.Add(sb); Content = p;

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  • Generate exe in .Net

    - by rwallace
    In .Net, you can generate byte code in memory, and presumably save the resulting program to a .exe file. To do the first step, I have the following test code adapted from http://www.code-magazine.com/Article.aspx?quickid=0301051 var name = new AssemblyName(); name.Name = "MyAssembly"; var ad = Thread.GetDomain(); var ab = ad.DefineDynamicAssembly(name, AssemblyBuilderAccess.Run); var mb = ab.DefineDynamicModule("MyModule"); var theClass = mb.DefineType("MathOps", TypeAttributes.Public); var retType = typeof(System.Int32); var parms = new Type[2]; parms[0] = typeof(System.Int32); parms[1] = typeof(System.Int32); var meb = theClass.DefineMethod("ReturnSum", MethodAttributes.Public, retType, parms); var gen = meb.GetILGenerator(); gen.Emit(OpCodes.Ldarg_1); gen.Emit(OpCodes.Ldarg_2); gen.Emit(OpCodes.Add_Ovf); gen.Emit(OpCodes.Stloc_0); gen.Emit(OpCodes.Br_S); gen.Emit(OpCodes.Ldloc_0); gen.Emit(OpCodes.Ret); theClass.CreateType(); How do you do the second step, and save the result to a .exe?

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  • Higher-order unification

    - by rwallace
    I'm working on a higher-order theorem prover, of which unification seems to be the most difficult subproblem. If Huet's algorithm is still considered state-of-the-art, does anyone have any links to explanations of it that are written to be understood by a programmer rather than a mathematician? Or even any examples of where it works and the usual first-order algorithm doesn't?

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  • F# and .Net versions

    - by rwallace
    I'm writing a program in F# at the moment, which I specified in the Visual Studio project setup to target .Net 3.5, this being the highest offered, on the theory that I might as well get the best available. Then I tried just now running the compiled program on an XP box, not expecting it to work, but just to see what would happen. Unsurprisingly I just got an error message demanding an appropriate version of the framework, but surprisingly it wasn't 3.5 it demanded, but 2.0.50727. An additional puzzle is the version of MSBuild I'm using to compile the release version of the program, which I found in the framework 3.5 directory but claims to be framework 2.0 and build engine 3.5. I just guessed it was the right version of MSBuild to use because it seemed to correspond with the highest framework version F# seems to be able to target, but should I be using a different version? Anyone have any idea what's going on? C:\Windows>dir/s msbuild.exe Volume in drive C is OS Volume Serial Number is 0422-C2D0 Directory of C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727 27/07/2008 19:03 69,632 MSBuild.exe 1 File(s) 69,632 bytes Directory of C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5 29/07/2008 23:40 91,136 MSBuild.exe 1 File(s) 91,136 bytes Directory of C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319 18/03/2010 16:47 132,944 MSBuild.exe 1 File(s) 132,944 bytes Directory of C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_msbuild_b03f5f7f11d50a3a_6.0.6000.16386_none_815e96e1b0e084be 20/10/2006 02:14 69,632 MSBuild.exe 1 File(s) 69,632 bytes Directory of C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_msbuild_b03f5f7f11d50a3a_6.0.6000.16720_none_81591d45b0e55432 27/07/2008 19:00 69,632 MSBuild.exe 1 File(s) 69,632 bytes Directory of C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_msbuild_b03f5f7f11d50a3a_6.0.6000.20883_none_6a9133e9ca879925 27/07/2008 18:55 69,632 MSBuild.exe 1 File(s) 69,632 bytes C:\Windows>cd Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5 C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5>msbuild /ver Microsoft (R) Build Engine Version 3.5.30729.1 [Microsoft .NET Framework, Version 2.0.50727.3053] Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 2007. All rights reserved. 3.5.30729.1

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  • Free vector icons

    - by rwallace
    Are there any free vector icons (as in, suitable for use in an open source project using WPF) for basic desktop program toolbar buttons like Back, Forward, Print, Save etc.?

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  • F#, Linux and makefiles

    - by rwallace
    I intend to distribute an F# program as both binary and source so the user has the option of recompiling it if desired. On Windows, I understand how to do this: provide .fsproj and .sln files, which both Visual Studio and MSBuild can understand. On Linux, the traditional solution for C programs is a makefile. This depends on gcc being directly available, which it always is. The F# compiler can be installed on Linux and works under Mono, so that's fine so far. However, as far as I can tell, it doesn't create a scenario where fsc runs the compiler, instead the command is mono ...path.../fsc.exe. This is also fine, except I don't know what the path is going to be. So the full command to run the compiler in my case could be mono ~/FSharp-2.0.0.0/bin/fsc.exe types.fs tptp.fs main.fs -r FSharp.PowerPack.dll except that I'm not sure where fsc.exe will actually be located on the user's machine. Is there a way to find that out within a makefile, or would it be better to fall back on just explaining the above in the documentation and relying on the user to modify the command according to his setup?

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  • C++0x regex in GCC

    - by rwallace
    The following code: #include <regex> using namespace std; (snippage) regex_search(s, m, re); works in Microsoft C++, but GCC 4.4.3 gives the following error message: /usr/include/c++/4.4/tr1_impl/regex:2255: warning: inline function ‘bool std::regex_search(_Bi_iter, _Bi_iter, std::match_results<_Bi_iter, _Allocator&, const std::basic_regex<_Ch_type, _Rx_traits&, std::regex_constants::match_flag_type) [with _Bi_iter = __gnu_cxx::__normal_iterator, std::allocator , _Allocator = std::allocator, std::allocator , _Ch_type = char, _Rx_traits = std::regex_traits]’ used but never defined Of course it wouldn't surprise me if regex were simply one of the C++0x features still on the to-do list for GCC, but what I'm scratching my head over is, in that case, why does it happily take the include directive, variable declarations etc. and only trip over the function call (which it even seems to understand). Is there something I'm missing?

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  • WPF buttons same/recommended width

    - by rwallace
    Suppose you have a window with multiple buttons such as Ok/Cancel or Yes/No/Cancel. All the buttons need to be the same width. Obviously this could be done by just guessing a number and hardwiring all of them to that number. Is there a better way to do it, one that would take into account preferred/recommended sizes (just how wide should an Ok button be anyway? This is not a rhetorical question, I actually don't know the answer!), what's needed by the text of the longest caption, what happens if the font size is increased etc?

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  • gcc options for fastest code

    - by rwallace
    I'm distributing a C++ program with a makefile for the Unix version, and I'm wondering what compiler options I should use to get the fastest possible code (it falls into the category of programs that can use all the computing power they can get and still come back for more), given that I don't know in advance what hardware, operating system or gcc version the user will have, and I want above all else to make sure it at least works correctly on every major Unix-like operating system. Thus far, I have g++ -O3 -Wno-write-strings, are there any other options I should add? On Windows, the Microsoft compiler has options for things like fast calling convention and link time code generation that are worth using, are there any equivalents on gcc? (I'm assuming it will default to 64-bit on a 64-bit platform, please correct me if that's not the case.)

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  • F# compiler order of source files

    - by rwallace
    As I understand it, when using F#, you have to manually list the source files in dependency order for the compiler's benefit (if there is any way around that, please let me know!) Listing them on the command line from left to right obviously isn't going to scale. Is there a way to at least make it accept the list of files in a text file, one per line, preferably with the ability to put in blank lines and comments? I've checked the compiler options, and I don't see anything that looks promising.

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  • WPF with code only

    - by rwallace
    I've seen a lot of questions about the merits of WPF here, and essentially every answer says it's the bee's knees, but essentially every answer also talks about things like XAML, in many cases graphic designers and Expression Blend etc. My question is, is it worth getting into WPF if you're a solo coder working in C# only? Specifically, I don't have a graphic designer, nor any great talent in that area myself; I don't use point-and-click tools; I write everything in C#, not XML. Winforms works fine in those conditions. Is the same true of WPF, or does it turn out that important functions can only be done in XAML, the default settings aren't intended for actual use and you have to have a graphic designer on the team to make things look good, etc., and somebody in my position would be better off to stick to Winforms?

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  • F# mutual recursion between modules

    - by rwallace
    For recursion in F#, existing documentation is clear about how to do it in the special case where it's just one function calling itself, or a group of physically adjacent functions calling each other. But in the general case where a group of functions in different modules need to call each other, how do you do it?

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