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New Meta language released for Windows, Apple Mac, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD & OpenBSD

https://language.metaproject.frl/#get

posted by:   Kaj de Vos     25-Jan-2022/18:42:40-8:00



Very interesting. Thanks.
    
It's not at all clear to me how you would run or use this in Windows 7.
    
At all.
    
Could it be possible, since itís written in rebol that you could write a GUI where you run a rebol program and then pick the program to compile using an already installed rebol???
    
I mean how do you run a "com" program on a command line in windows???
    
This brings up a point. Full time programmers think that everyone should use a command line because itís faster, and it is, to full time programmers. How many commands are there to do everything needed on a command line?? A bunch and no one, no one that is not a full time programmer or spends all day doing this will ever remember all these. Nor are they interested in learning because itís of very little use to them. Itís like have to learn to rebuild auto engines to drive a car. No one does that, or the numbers are extremely small.
    
Iím old enough to have programmed FORTRAN on original IBM PC's in DOS. And I hated every minute of it. Every time I had to type in along sequence to get to some directory or do some sort of action I had to look it up in a book that I had to carry around. It seems to me that the single greatest computer progress in history happened when you had a GUI where you didn't have to look up commands. Sure itís fine if you do this all day but for I bet 99.999999 or many more 9's percent of the population they hate it. They and I are just not going to learn all these commands to fool around a little to mess around a little with programming.
    
Maybe this is what you want to self select to only a small group of people?
    
I think one of the single greatest things that rebol did was make throwing together some sort of GUI for programs easily. It makes learning the rest of it palatable. Most GUI programming takes an enormous amount of drudgery and study to do it.
    
Now if you are programming compilers you think this attitude is buffoonery, yet most people do not program compilers and while this may totally cause your brain to jump for joy at the complexity and challenge it does nothing for most people. So making a program just for administrators and people who use command lines every day is cutting off a super vast, enormous amount of people.
    
I think and told Doc that his idea that abandoning the AGG library and rebols GUI for the idea of using the underlying libraries for each OS was a mistake. He did not like this. I'm fairly sure he thinks Iím a trollish annoying idiot. I didn't say this to piss him off it's just that I've done some looking at programming GUI stuff and itís a real pain in the ass. I want him to succeed. Look at how long it has taken him to get RED on just Windows going and he is not even close to finishing. The GTK3 stuff for linux and the BSD's are not finished. Only now has someone made a GUI for RED, (Spaces cross-platform GUI) and he says he will prioritize this year.
    
Think if he had either written a graphics library like Spaces or even better just found a way to use the lowest level of OpenGL that he could use successfully and link to it while using skinning to simulate the different operating systems. I think he would have been way farther along. And RED would always have a GUI sub system built in that worked.
    
Later he could actually use the OS libraries after he got RED going but the problem is these libraries are very hard to deal with when you are setting up to build your own GUI on top of them and then..they are a moving target. If you used your own library or the lowest level or OpenGL then you have something that is always there and with OpenGl something that will most likely be graphics driver accelerated on most every single graphics card or processor that comes out for a long time.
    
One other thing there's a guy named Maxim Olivier-Adlhoch that worked on a GUI for rebol called "glass" that sounds very, very much like the reactive GUI that Doc is calling for RED. I don't think itís finished and while I: not sure I think there's a different, earlier, later??? version, called Glayout. While not complete, it might at least be looked at or use some of the code to do what's needed. He workled on this for over ten years. I can't say if he accomplished all he set out to do but the ideas he used to organize it seem to be very promising.
    
Max releases Glass!
    
http://synapse-ehr.com/community/threads/max-releases-glass.169/
    
    
Glass link
    
http://www.pointillistic.com/open-REBOL/moa/files/glass-distro-R1.zip
    
http://www.pointillistic.com/open-REBOL/moa/steel/glayout/index.html


posted by:   Sam the Truck     13-Feb-2022/22:55:45-8:00



> It's not at all clear to me how you would run or use this in Windows 7.
    
Press keys "Win + R", "c", "m", "d" and "Enter" :)
    
> ...It seems to me that the single greatest computer progress in history happened when you had a GUI where you didn't have to look up commands...
    
Now users are looking for icons :)
Writing "winword my_doc.doc" is much easier and faster than clicking "start", "programs", "office", "winverd", wait for it to load, then "file", "open", "my computer", " documents", scroll to the required file...
    
> They and I are just not going to learn all these commands...
    
Nobody forces you
    
> ...make throwing together some sort of GUI for programs easily...
    
Try HTML Application (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML_Application)
    
> ...cutting off a super vast, enormous amount of people...
    
Okay. You can cut off. :)
    
> ...I'm fairly sure he thinks Iím a trollish annoying idiot...
    
I'm sorry, but he's not alone in this.
    
> ...(many letters about Red)
    
Memories of Fortran in DOS are clearly not enough to criticize modern programmers, just as Aristotle's treatises are not enough to criticize the current work of a virologist.

posted by:   Sergey_Vl     14-Feb-2022/5:27:05-8:00



Thanks for the feedback. I have been wondering how familiar Windows programmers are with the command line.
    
A Windows .com program is the old format of what is now usually an .exe program. To run the Meta run.com program, you open a command line / terminal window in the folder where you put run.com or you go to that folder with the CD command:
    
cd path\to\Meta
    
Then just enter
    
run
    
This will output some brief documentation, where you can see that you can run a Meta program like this:
    
run example.meta
    
To have this work, you need to fulfill the installation requirements on the Meta website. Do you get an error message?
    
I actually started out as a GUI person on Windows. I know what you mean, because it took me a long time to change myself into a command-line person on Unix. I think both command lines and GUI's can be improved.
    
Meta is currently a command-line program only because that is less work to make. I will make it progressively easier to use over time. The Meta compiler client is actually written in Meta. To give it a GUI, a GUI needs to be developed for Meta first.
    
I was there when GLayout and Glass were developed. I was always a fan of AGG and I thought Glass was very exciting, but they both stalled eventually. Glass was much more reactive than Red's GUI, it was full dataflow. AGG and Glass seemed superior to native GUI's, but users always complained they stuck out. I think this dichotomy can't be solved and ideally, you need to support both.
    
I have some ideas for GUI's for Meta. I will present them later, but I will need support from the community to implement what they want most.

posted by:   Kaj     14-Feb-2022/8:37:17-8:00



Thanks for your reply. . My apologies for fostering a Dunning-Kruger troll effect. No matter how trollish it might seem, I still think it absurd that you need a book or need to memorize commands to use computer programs. It seems to me, however wrong, that interfaces should have contained within them the data need to use them.
    
"...Meta is currently a command-line program only because that is less work to make...."
    
Yeah I get that. Perfectly reasonable.
    
"...Now users are looking for icons :) ..."
    
I said that but it's not necessarily what I meant. What I mean is some listing of what things are, commands and basically how to use it. It's been done in a simple manner before.
    
I happened to remember an old DOS program as an example. "Sidekick"
    
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borland_Sidekick
    
You could list DOS commands and what their function was with this(The link shows all the other crap it did I only used as a sort of file and function explorer). There's some 100 DOS commands. So even some simple archaic OS the normal person can't remember all the commands.

posted by:   Sam the Truck     29-Mar-2022/17:13:42-7:00



For all programs user need remember one key (F1) and one command "help" :)

posted by:   Sergey_Vl     29-Mar-2022/17:50:09-7:00



I can see both sides of the argument.
    
There have been many attempts to get rid of programming and programmers, but they haven't been very successful. Programming is inherently hard, but I do agree that it is usually made more complex than it should be. Hence Meta's distinction between essential and accidental complexity.
    
Meta is a traditional, text-based programming language. By definition, that means your power depends on how many words of the language you can learn. The REBOL design reduces that problem by defining a series of patterns that unify interfaces.
    
Discoverability can be improved to aid learning. Over time, I will implement similar commands in Meta that REBOL has to list available words.
    
Further, Meta tells you when it recognises a known REBOL or Red word or short sentence that is written differently in Meta.

posted by:   Kaj     3-Apr-2022/11:03:34-7:00



Sam, I made it even easier to use Meta. The language can now run in web browsers, and here is a web console:
    
https://console.metaproject.frl

posted by:   Kaj     16-May-2022/13:52:22-7:00



Thanks!
    
I'm reading the documents on this page
    
https://language.metaproject.frl/#get
    
and the link to
    
High School Computing: The Inside Story
    
http://www.trollope.org/scheme.html
    
is gone. Here's an internet archive copy that works
    
https://web.archive.org/web/20200206234436/http://www.trollope.org/scheme.html
    
"...AGG and Glass seemed superior to native GUI's, but users always complained they stuck out. I think this dichotomy can't be solved and ideally, you need to support both..."
    
I pointed the guy who did Spaces for Red to Glass, and he didn't like it. I told him about it because he asked for a method to do exactly what it was Glass said it did. Provide reactivity. He's still looking for an elegant way to do this. If you come up with something, Iím sure he would be interested. Maybe both of you could brainstorm about it.
        
"...I have some ideas for GUI's for Meta..."
    
The programming for this is over my head but I do like to look at stuff that others have done and try to get a general understanding of what they have done. It would seem to me you couldn't go far wrong by looking at what QNX did with their Photon microGUI. They put on a floppy drive
    
1. Voyager Web Browser (Full HTML 3.2, frames, tables, etc.)
2. Voyager Embedded Web Server
3. The QNX Realtime Operating System
4. TCP/IP (with PPP including CHAP/PAP support)
5. Photon microGUI Windowing System
6. A "remote control" device to simulate a TV set top box
7. An Internet Phone Dialer
8. A Graphical File Browser
9. A Graphical Text Editor
10. A Vector Graphics Animation
11. Over 180 Kbytes of HTML and image
    
Wow. I had a copy of this at one time. It was very responsive. I think I ran it on a Pentium II or III, something like that.
    
https://marc.info/?l=freebsd-chat&m=103030933111004
    
Their GUI was a message passing microGUI that,
    
"...GUI as a graphical "microkernel" process ...", like their real time OS.
    
Their idea is very interesting because they have one small program to do one small specific job while leaving all the drawing to other programs.
    
"...The Photon microkernel runs as a tiny process, implementing only a few fundamental primitives that external, optional processes use to construct the higher-level functionality of a windowing system. Ironically, for the Photon microkernel itself, "windows" do not exist. Nor can the Photon microkernel "draw" anything, or manage a pen, mouse, or keyboard.
    
To manage a GUI environment, Photon creates a 3-dimensional event space and confines itself only to handling regions and processing the clipping and steering of various events as they flow through the regions in this event space. ..."
    
This sure worked for them. QNX is used in sorts of very power and memory constrained systems on cars and other devices. Maybe this idea could be copied. Here's an article on it.
    
http://www.mikecramer.com/qnx/qnx_6.1_docs/neutrino/sys_arch/photon.html
    
As for graphics for the GUI, it seems to me that QNX has this figured out. They use OpenGL. There's a lot of GUI libraries. The major ones being OpenGL(maybe now Vulcan would be better), Microsoft DirectX, Apples graphics, GTK and KDE mostly. It seems to me that lining up every single one of these to equate to Draw and VID commands or even the major ones seems a hopless task in complexity. Not to mention they are a constantly moving target. What if Vulcan or OpenGL alone were picked and then the widgets were skinned? If there was a drawing program built in to change all the GUI elements on the screen in all areas of the program, then it would seem a far easier task to use it instead of all this complexity. There's just too many libraries. Better to make one a very flexible one that someone, not a GUI guru, could tweak a bit with a built-in Adobe type vector paint, drawing, program and skin it into whatever they wanted. That way no matter what changes they made to windows, requesters, whatever you could draw it's outline, shade it however you want and then save it while leaving all the underlying VID commands exactly the same. You could even literally copy all their boxes, requesters, etc. and make vector or bit mapped copies of each and shoehorn them right into VID.
    
The QNX Realtime Operating System
    
http://home.iitj.ac.in/~saurabh.heda/Papers/Survey/Report%20on%20%20QNX%20-2007.pdf
    
Now I know Doc thinks Iím a troll, Sergey_Vl thinks I'm a troll but it's damn difficult to argue with the logic that in the "long term" that in order for Red, Meta or whatever language having a set library, skinnable GUI of some sort is a big advantage. Try to tell me that at the minimum linking to the three major OS GUI's with hundreds of megabytes of code in each of them is easier than having a set library that will stay around.
    
I think this is a difficult argument to make. Doc himself says,
    
"...Rebol2 for any faults we can point out, still works to this day (except in cases where the world changed out from under it, e.g., in protocols). It was self-contained, and relied only on what the OS (Operating System) provided. As long as OSs don't break a core set of functionality that tools rely on, things keep working. R2 had a full GUI system (non-native, which insulated it from changes there), and I can only smile when I run code that is 20 years old, and it works flawlessly....".
    
And even if you do manage to tie VID commands to the underlying OS libraries, you will never be done because their financial model is to make everything obsolete and constantly change the software to sell new stuff. They HAVE to do this because it's the only way to keep up profits. You can never keep up with the amount of resources they can throw at the graphics libraries. Every few years you are right back in the place where you started with no GUI because they stopped supporting the libraries.
    
Anyways I babbled enough.


posted by:   Sam the Truck     26-May-2022/6:15-7:00



Thanks for the high-quality feedback! I, too, studied all these things a few decades ago, but it's good to be reminded of them now that Meta gives me the power to do something about them. Thanks for the links, I will keep them in mind.
    
Yeah, QNX is legendary. But Syllable is in a similar league. :-)
    
Obviously, having started my own language project, I don't agree with Doc's project management. It was always difficult to put my finger on it. We agreed on principles, but not on execution, so it took me a long time to leave Red. Some things in Meta are the same, and some are different.
    
REBOL tried hard to be its own world, and the real world rejected that. It doesn't do much good to almost work after twenty years. The world changing SSL still means you don't work anymore, and the GUI taste of people having changed means they reject it. It's a good engineering principle to isolate parts, but the world can't be ignored.
    
Thanks for the heads-up about the broken link! I replaced it. That article must have been there for decades, but the moment I link to it, it vanishes...
    
Xanadu was going to fix that, but it tried to replace too much of the world...
    
The world favours incremental change. REBOL tried to change too much at once, and Glass tried to change too much at once. Reactiveness in Red's GUI is easier to use because it applies to the default GUI, but it also doesn't bring a large improvement. This is an eternal trade-off. My semi-solution is to make Meta so flexible and productive that both strategies can be attempted, like C can be used for anything, and the world can decide what it wants. I will provide options, and support from the community will decide the direction.

posted by:   Kaj     26-May-2022/9:26:03-7:00



"...Syllable is in a similar league. :-) ..."
    
Ahhh I didn't know you were responsible for that. You must know far more than I do about it.
    
Maybe I'm flogging a dead horse but I want to be absolutely sure that I get people to understand the meat of my point with the deficit of repetition.
    
My point in needing some sort of GUI for RED is that no matter what there would be some sort of GUI. As above, Rebol still works.
    
I'm in NO WAY opposed of GUI's based on the OS. Not a bit "but" if some sort of library like AGG was used and written in Red or Meta. It would always be there. For acceleration link it to the lowest form of OpenGL which is not going away any time soon I suspect.
    
Let's be cognizant that there's no reason at all that Rebol or R3 could not have substituted OS graphic libraries for AGG but...no one did it. Why not? Human nature. Smart people don't want to drudge away repeating the same thing over and over so no one is going to "waste" their time doing all this drudge work and I expect the exact same thing will happen to Red "if" he never makes any sort of self contained GUI that only depends on Red or Meta also. Sure you may get it going but 4 years from now the various OS will come out with the "latest, greatest, new fangled" graphics library and...no one will be willing to slog away at porting all this code to fit it. A lot of work. I supect the very long time Red is taking to get to 1.0 is all this GUI OS work that takes forever.
    
It would seem if you had a skinable graphics system combined with a compositor that you could mix all sorts of graphics for the GUI. Could be bitmap, postscript, jpg, whatever, then whatever GUI they change to could be skinned to fake it to some extent. Now I'm not fooling myself that I'm able to do this and if I was to slog away at it I don't have the resources to feed and keep a roof over myself while doing so. I wrote this after reading some stuff on 3D printing which interest me. Seeing this prompted me to write this. A 3D printed aero-spike rocket engine.
    
https://3dprintingindustry.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/EOS_App_Aerospace_Hyperganic_04-1536x1024.jpg
    
The point being I do not have to have the capability to make this in order to see it as something beautiful and satisfying. I see Rebol and Red and Meta as beautiful and satisfying and feel that they will fade away unless they have some sort of GUI that can persist into the future. That doesn't depend on the various OSes to provide graphics. I'll shut up about this I know people are tired of hearing it.

posted by:   Sam the Truck     6-Jun-2022/23:54:35-7:00



Cool engine indeed.
    
All the important issues are in your post, but they compete with each other, so it's a balancing act.
    
The most important point is to feed myself. When I die of old age, I will make sure that my projects are in the hands of the community. But if I fade away before old age, my projects will fade with me. Therefore, I made sure that I could use Meta myself from very early on. If users of my projects make me a living, I can work for them, but if not, I will only implement what I need myself, people will have to be satisfied with these free gifts, and all talk about what else they want would be pointless.
    
If you don't have the means to fund what you want, you can still campaign for others to do so.
    
Other languages keep up all sorts of bindings because they have funding to pay people for the drudge work. If a language is not made popular, everything remains a problem forever. If it is made popular, its upkeep is a small price to pay for the world for the productivity gains.
    
It's scary in general how the whole world increasingly depends on everything else keeping working, and we are currently experiencing the repercussions.
    
There is not one cause of Red's glacial pace, it's a combination of factors. I designed Meta to solve all of them.
    
I certainly know what you mean by dependencies, and I have a strong goal to limit them. A decade ago, I wrote bindings for Red to extra GTK+ widgets such as a web browser view and map views. Within mere months, they ceased working because new versions of these widgets broke compatibility with their own simple interfaces.
    
It seems that OpenGL is not basic enough to guarantee the future. It is being replaced by competing standards. Currently, you have to target Vulkan, Metal and DirectX for good performance.
    
To guarantee the future, you have to be more humble, and Meta already has GUI capabilities for that. As long as there are Atari emulators, Atari GUI's you write in Meta now will run forever. :-) When there cease being Atari emulators, the world will have much bigger problems.
    
The minimum dependency for Meta is currently an Atari 2600, without operating system.
    
That said, my current option is to implement bindings to SDL and OpenGL ES/WebGL. I already did that for Red. Currently, I don't plan to write a custom GUI on top of that, but it's certainly an option.

posted by:   Kaj     7-Jun-2022/6:19:47-7:00



Hi Kaj,
    
Congrats on all these wonderful accomplishments. This is truly a great project to follow.
    
Quick question:
    
- The console. Is there any JS interop involved, or is it a CGI implimentation?
- You mentioned a resulting webapp that can be copied. So if I use your latest code for 'Mortal Coil', is the display updated incrementally, with error feedback?/or does it provide a final link? Maybe this is expecting too much.
(Sorry, haven't had time to check it out yet)
    
I know you are very busy, maybe a broad description of how you got the console working would be nice.
    


posted by:   DaniŽl     21-Jun-2022/9:11:08-7:00



Also check out:
    
https://redbean.dev/
    
It is remarkable what she accomplished, and lots of practical use cases, I think.

posted by:   DaniŽl     21-Jun-2022/9:15:26-7:00



Thanks, DaniŽl!
    
The Meta browser target and web console took a few weeks, but I could use parts for the console from my old Try REBOL site, where, around a decade ago, you could run REBOL 3, R2, Red and Boron programs on my (Syllable) Server (and compare them). The Meta web console is the next generation, where you can run programs actually in your own browser.
    
The Meta browser target generates C and then uses Emscripten:
    
https://language.metaproject.frl/#web
    
Currently, I don't let it compile to WebAssembly but to JavaScript. This compiles faster and supports older browsers.
    
The web console, and the new forum, are Single Page Application web apps that communicate with the server through API's. For an SPA to do that, JavaScript is needed. I'm currently using AJAX. In the future, WebSockets could be used to make it slightly more responsive and efficient, but AJAX is simpler and compatible with older browsers. Several people from the REBOL and Atari scenes use such older browsers. :-)
    
The working of the SPA clients can be seen in their HTML and JavaScript source code.
    
Everything is almost as simple as possible. The server processes requests in CGI programs, written in Meta and REBOL 3. Using very simple line-based text data formats means Meta, REBOL and JavaScript can communicate. In the future, a full server could be implemented to make it more efficient, but using existing compilers is a CGI-style activity, anyway, and CGI programs in Meta are much more efficient than in many other languages.
    
Meta does very little memory allocation, but does no garbage collection yet. Currently, a web server in Meta would probably leak some memory. For CGI programs, this is no problem, because the operating system cleans up.
    
When you run a Meta program in the web console, you are directed to the generated web page. You can copy, inspect and change this like any other web page. There are a few parts, so you have to look through it for the links and download them. I will probably add an easy download option later.
    
Some Atari people think their web browser can run Atari programs. :-) Perhaps, but I didn't announce an Atari emulator for web browsers. The browser is just a platform, and you have to program to its abilities. For example, you can use the cross-platform examples I published. There are no browser-native bindings yet.
    
I wonder if you realise how right on the mark you are with RedBean. The current Meta compiler for PC platforms generates APE executables. If you write a web server in Meta, it would automatically be quite similar to RedBean.

posted by:   Kaj     21-Jun-2022/11:17:30-7:00



Kaj, thanks for the detailed answer.
    
I was trying to run a few examples through the console, but the compiler window only resulted in a endless wait, and the browser (Chrome) timing out. Can you please provide a moderately detailed code sample to see it in action? Any restriction on what can be compiled from Windows 10? I am very curious....

posted by:   Daniel     22-Jun-2022/13:40:02-7:00



It seems that you entered an Atari 8-bit program, anyway. That's a valid Meta program, and Meta adapts to the platform, so Meta did its best to generate a web browser program, hence there were no compilation errors.
    
But again, unless you have a very special web browser, it can't run programs that are meant for an Atari 8-bit. In this case, it just hangs. Nothing to do with Windows 10.
    
As I said, you can use the cross-platform examples I published, which are linked from the web console.

posted by:   Kaj     22-Jun-2022/17:36:45-7:00



@Kaj
    
Sergey_Vl asked here,
    
http://www.rebolforum.com/index.cgi?f=printtopic&topicnumber=45&archiveflag=new
    
Sergey_Vl     20-Jun-2022/6:51:44-7:00
    
"...Kaj, if Rebol is always your favorite then why did you take up Meta instead of working on Rebol3? ..."
    
Your answer
    
"...But I was already working on my improved design, that solves problems of both REBOL and Red..."
    
Is there any way to describe to a mid-wit like average engineering intelligent type person what it is exactly or in a big picture sort of way you are doing differently to make such a difference? You seem to be using the same sort of structure and syntax as Rebol. If the internal representation, you use, or the way you parse this this syntax is different, could you not make a separate compiler of sorts instead of starting over?
    
It seems Hostile fork is doing the same thing by rewriting the internals of R3.(though Iím sure what youíre doing is different).
    
(I hesitate to bring things like this up because people know so much more than I that...it may well be just pointing out the obvious. but, just in case)
    
Someone did a kinda, sorta thing like you are doing and called it Ni!,(I really like that name for a programming language), then Spry. It was written in NIM which seems interesting. It seems a lot of things are converging on some of the ideas of Rebol and LISP. It's interesting he can get so much out of such a small amount of code. Maybe? This will be useful.
    
http://goran.krampe.se/2015/09/16/ni-a-strange-little-language/

posted by:   Sam the Truck     23-Jun-2022/23:54:26-7:00



I tried to explain it here:
    
https://language.metaproject.frl/#how
    
One of the things I always liked most about REBOL is its level of abstraction. A quarter century ago, I was specifically looking for the highest-level language I could find that was still practical, to make the biggest jump forward. REBOL code tends to be formulated in a way that allows many, completely different implementations, even though only one method was available. Meta is such a completely different implementation. I could have kept the code you write identical, but I chose to make small changes to optimise for Meta's purposes and fix some long-standing problems.
    
I evaluated Ni/Spry at the time. It's in a class of Smalltalk-like language such as Io a decade before it, that I was partial to when I needed an open-source alternative for REBOL.
    
REBOL. Ren-C and Spry are interpreters. Many things can't be done in interpreters, because it would kill performance even more than they already do. The past two decades were an era for new, interpreted languages, because faster hardware made them feasible and they fixed the long edit-compile-run cycles of compiled languages.
    
Now, hardware is fast enough to compile programs in around the time it takes a fat interpreter to start up, and we see a new generation of compiled languages to reclaim the efficiency.
    
Unless you mess it up, such as traditional compilers that became ever slower every year in the era that they had no hope of competing with the ease of development of interpreters, anyway. Or Red's compiler, which was always so slow that it necessitated an extra interpreter.
    
Meta is a compiled language for this new era, that can do much more than an interpreter, and was designed to compile fast. There was no point on basing it on one of the older works, because they are completely different under the hood. I considered many possible combinations with the existing works, hoping it would ease my work, but it always turned out it would only complicate it. The only thing that helps is writing the first generation of Meta partly in R3.
    
Joe Marshall, the author of Sherman, the first ever REBOL compiler, planted a lore in the scene that a REBOL compiler is not really feasible, because the combinatorics of the language design lead to code explosions. That sounded logical, but Red proved that a practical compiler can be done. However, it did it by basically only compiling the interpreter loop, avoiding the code explosions. This causes compiled Red code to be as slow as interpreted REBOL code, and interpreted Red code to be even eight times as slow as REBOL, on average.
    
Meta is a language properly designed for compilation, with a proper, fast compiler. It does mean that the language can't be as small as interpreted languages such as Io and Spry. The phenomenon of code explosions is real, but it can be managed. Meta keeps them in the compiler and largely out of the compiled result, which is exactly what compilers are good at. It's a lot of work, and it does mean that Meta is like Swiss cheese until it is more finished. I have to fill the holes in the order that functionality is needed.

posted by:   Kaj     25-Jun-2022/11:03:57-7:00



Thanks. I think I do get the basic idea of what you are doing.
    
"...The user-facing front-end language is a REBOL dialect. Its type system is a combination of the high-level type system of REBOL and a safe form of the type systems of medium-level languages such as C and Pascal..."
    
I expect this is a key part of it. A lower level structure while using Rebol syntax as a dialect built from this lower level structure. I know spry is different but I can see how he is sort of using some of the same type ideas but using Nim as the lower structure, lower level.
    
Maybe this is a stupid question but have you thought about using Nim as the lower level instead of writing all this compiler and other supporting infrastructure. If Nim does what it says, it's most impressive. The License for Nim is,
    
"License
    
The compiler and the standard library are licensed under the MIT license.."
    
So anything you don't like you could change however you wished.
    
And I perfectly understand that you might just want to do your own thing just...because, that's what you enjoy. This however is different from getting a language going in the shortest amount of time with the most completeness.
    
"...This is due to REBOL's monolithic interpreted execution model, which makes it a relatively slow language, and due to its high-level type system, which makes it memory-hungry and does not support the data types of external systems..."
    
The writer of NI and/or spry commented on this being a problem. He didn't like all the different built in data types.
    
Thanks for the reply while Iím sure I don't understand the details I think I have a little more of a general overall view. Sometimes I have trouble understanding things if I don't have some sort of "large scale" model that shows whatís going on.

posted by:   Sam the Truck     26-Jun-2022/23:40:53-7:00



Kaj,
    
I wish I could take part more. I'm watching and appreciating everything you're doing. I look forward to the day when Meta is mature enough to use as the only language/tool needed to build full stack web apps...

posted by:   Nick     27-Jun-2022/16:47:24-7:00



That is perfectly understandable. I, too, am always looking for the big picture, and that is what attracted me to REBOL. Many people in our field are very good at details, but not so good at the big picture. Both are needed to avoid the many pitfalls.
    
Yes, to achieve performance, a language needs to compile high-level constructs down to low-level ones. REBOL hardly does that and postpones almost all decisions to runtime. I think Carl was under the influence of his colleague Alan Kay, who said the languages of the future should bind as late as possible. That's fine for easing your language implementation work if you expect ever faster hardware, but it's not competitive with faster languages, and it doesn't serve the long tail of small hardware that doesn't go away, but only becomes more ubiquitous.
    
Meta is completely designed to achieve results as soon as possible by making the best use of existing sub-systems:
    
https://language.metaproject.frl/#goals
https://language.metaproject.frl/#features
https://language.metaproject.frl/#how
    
This does not mean all existing sub-systems or just any system. To avoid the problems of contemporary software development, you have to approach your target as close as possible to minimise mismatches.
    
The current version of Meta is written in REBOL 3, because that is close to my high-level targets. REBOL is designed as a tool for language implementation. It's great for writing its own successor.
    
The universal language for abstracting low-level machines is C. The abstraction it uses for operating systems is the standard C library. Almost all operating systems use or at least provide these abstractions. Therefore, Meta has a back-end that generates C and uses the C library.
    
Even though Meta is an extensive language design, it is currently a thin layer between R3 and C. Most of the development time is absorbed by forcing C and the C library to adapt to REBOL principles. Meta could develop much faster without C, but it would run on only one platform, for example the native back-end for Atari 8-bit.
    
Nim is interesting because it does something similar to Meta, but it does not provide the facilities of either REBOL or C, therefore it is neither suitable for the high-level nor the low-level parts of Meta.
    
If you think Nim provides some advantage, you could write a back-end for Meta that generates Nim code. The back-end would still be written in R3, or Meta in the future, and you would have to duplicate everything in the C back-end in Nim and Nim's runtime libraries. The result would be much less universal than the C back-end.
    
R3 and most C toolchains are open source. I can modify them when needed, and I did so with the CC65 toolchain for 6502 targets. A few of my patches went into CC65, and I am still patching a few that weren't accepted by the project.
    
The problem with REBOL's type system is not that there are too many types, but too few. Meta has many more. REBOL's concept is mainly to distinguish the data types that have unique lexical notations in human language. That is great for matching the cognitive abilities for humans, but machines and compilers need more types for optimisations. Other languages and libraries do have them, so REBOL also has a problem interfacing with those.
    
I'm no stranger to impatience, but I think Meta's development pace and reach are OK. It's certainly conforming to my stated goals and strategies. When Red was one year old, it could do "print 1". Meta is two years old now, and it runs popular websites and download servers, custom forums, its own web console, implements its own network clients, can do graphics and sound demos, and is available from 8-bit systems to all the major modern platforms and web browsers.

posted by:   Kaj     27-Jun-2022/17:30:39-7:00



Thanks, Nick.

posted by:   Kaj     27-Jun-2022/17:32:11-7:00



It's rotten that they're trying to steal your name. I remember when they tried to do the same thing with 'iOS' :)

posted by:   Nick     2-Jul-2022/9:06:12-7:00



Yeah, it was a nasty surprise. Their press release looked like it was copied from my website. :-S But it's a common dictionary word, and, any publicity is good publicity. :-)

posted by:   Kaj     2-Jul-2022/11:01:10-7:00



Thank you very much for the time and careful consideration of your replies.

posted by:   Sam the Truck     5-Jul-2022/9:34:18-7:00



"When Red was one year old, it could do "print 1". Meta is two years old now, and it runs popular websites and download servers, custom forums, its own web console, implements its own network clients, can do graphics and sound demos, and is available from 8-bit systems to all the major modern platforms and web browsers."
    
I've been following Red development from probably early 2013. 0.1 red was apparently released March 2011: https://www.red-lang.org/2018/01/overview-of-red-development-history.html
    
I just did a lookup and red's GUI capabilities were announced in March 2016. https://www.red-lang.org/2016/03/060-red-gui-system.html. So five years. At that point I remember being excited, thinking at least full REBOL equivalence within a year, so the remaining REBOL culture could finally pull together.
    
Boy did I get that wrong! It's now nearly SEVEN years later and there still isn't full REBOL capability. The timeline from June of last year for a final 32 bit version, with IO, has already fallen, it appears, hopelessly behind.
    
I think the whole thing is sad. So much promise come to so little, so late. Too late, I suspect. I noted Sam's comment above: "I think one of the single greatest things that rebol did was make throwing together some sort of GUI for programs easily. It makes learning the rest of it palatable. ...I think and told Doc that his idea that abandoning the AGG library and rebols GUI for the idea of using the underlying libraries for each OS was a mistake."
    
I'm posting because I'm curious about where red went wrong? I'm also curious about other lessons to be learned and if you believe you've incorporated those lessons into your Meta?
    
One thing that has long bothered me is the lack of something like a BNF for REBOL languages. Is there some reason why a formal specification of the core language is not possible? Without that, it seems to me, the rats nest of bugs can (and arguably MUST) go on forever. Without that, how can there ever be a meaningful 1.0 version? It seems like another level of Dante's hell, specially made for hackers!
    
Does Meta have a formal specification? Please forgive me for not reading all about Meta on your site before posting this comment and these questions. I thought red was finally going to bring some common sense back to software complexity. It has been really heartbreaking to see things get stuck in such a fundamental quagmire. Without limitation, there is no completion. Without something like a formal BNF the structure of the language can never be trusted. Is that necessarily a defect in REBOL Lisps? Is that why all other lisps, I am aware of, need those pesky brackets and prefix notation?
    
Final question: when do you hope to release a stable (which, as I said, seems to me to require a formal specification) 1.0 for Meta? Again, I apologize if you've already answered these questions elsewhere.
    


posted by:   CuriousGeorge     15-Jan-2023/5:17:16-8:00



Hello George.
    
Yes, Red was launched in 2011 at my REBOL conference.
    
Red's planning and execution was always weird to me. It never focused on achieving practical functionality quickly, seemingly assuming there is no competition and people can wait forever. Every time some functionality is contemplated, some complex time path is devised where the functionality first requires a lot of other functionality to be implemented that the designer would like to have. This has also made Red's implementation complex and highly inefficient.
    
Especially frustrating is that promises are consistently made the other way around. We were going to get highly efficient REBOL equivalence quickly. Later, ever more lofty goals and promises were added, for crypto ecosystems and what not. That would all be great, but not much is ever brought to practical completion.
    
I thought a lot about that and designed and implemented Meta the other way around:
language.metaproject.frl#goals
    
The problem with REBOL equivalence is that REBOL 2 was so good and comprehensive that it's really hard to match. Even REBOL 3 failed because of that. At the same time, REBOL has a lot of features that are great for advanced programming, but are not needed often in regular programming. Meta focuses first on the traditional features that are needed most, and that most programmers are familiar with, albeit in different syntaxes.
    
REBOL's priorities were already out of whack from the mainstream from the start, but this grew stronger over the years, and now REBOL is quite outdated. Red's priorities are mysterious and even out of whack with the needs of REBOL programmers. Meta focuses on making the REBOL principles usable for modern mainstream purposes, a mostly untapped potential.
    
Meta does not have a goal of strict REBOL equivalence, although it does have a goal of eventually coming close. So the features we want are fairly clear, but the order of implementation is very different, focused on quick practical usability and what users need in practice.
    
1.0 does not mean much to me. It's a relic from the past when there were no good ways to update software. Meta maximises updates with continuous deployment through a web service:
language.metaproject.frl#features
    
What's important is that there are features that people need and that implemented features work. So when someone wants to fund something they need, or wants to help implement it, I consult the REBOL catalog of features to see how it could be implemented and balance that with Meta's design and goal of interoperating with other sub-systems. Meta has no version numbers. Perhaps they will be useful in the future when Meta becomes enterprise ready. :-)
    
A Red contributor wrote a specification for it years ago. I think it's in BNF form or something close. It's nice to have, but it doesn't prevent Red from having many bugs. These stem from Red's complex but primitive implementation and a sloppy work style. REBOL was never that buggy. Meta is working towards becoming a safe language and being implemented in itself. It's type checked at compile time. This is much safer than Red's approach of type checking at run time, even leaving out many checks in compiled code, and writing most of Red in the unsafe, primitive, C class Red/System language. A similar BNF specification would be doable for Meta, but the prevention of bugs is elsewhere.

posted by:   Kaj     16-Jan-2023/5:26:01-8:00



Everything in Meta and the Meta project is implemented as a Minimum Viable Project first and extended from there:
language.metaproject.frl#when
    
The goal is to have something that is usable as quickly as possible. Then from there, it can be broadened to more use cases. Reaching a 1.0 state is not needed and not planned to make Meta usable. The goal is that the supported use cases are always usable. If you compare with REBOL or even Meta's own goals, the language will be incomplete for a long time, but the programs it produces are of production quality:
    
language.metaproject.frl#state

posted by:   Kaj     16-Jan-2023/6:05:41-8:00



Oh, the BNF grammar is still only for Red/System.
    
Meta has a somewhat similar grammar internally. The Meta compiler is built on a compiler dialect that specifies the language. It's not as clean as a documentation dialect such as BNF, because it needs to do the actual implementation. It plays the same role as YACC and Bison in traditional languages, but it's a REBOL 3 dialect, so it's much cleaner and more suitable for Meta. Eventually, it will become a Meta dialect.
    
This internal implementation could be stripped down and presented as a specification. However, remember that REBOL is a context sensitive language. Further, Meta is more dynamic than REBOL: it also uses the target platform as context, so the same expressions may compile to different data types on different platforms. This means that the implementation carries some of the specification, so stripping it down to the compiler dialect would loose some of the specification. Turning it into documentation would require some thought, and it would have to retain some code, going further than BNF.
    
It would also be a lot of work to keep up to date with language extensions and new target platforms, so this is something for the future.

posted by:   Kaj     17-Jan-2023/3:17:28-8:00



The Red compiler doesn't have such a compiler dialect, and in REBOL and the Red interpreter the notion is completely absent, because the interpreter makes everything up as it goes, only doing type checking per function every time it encounters one and needs to execute it. Red's compiler is just un unrolled interpreter loop, basically doing the same thing and even leaving out checks that the interpreter does. Red's compiler is already as slow as REBOL's interpreter. Doing all the same checks, it might become as slow as the Red interpreter.
    
Meta's DO dialect is a fully statically checked Ahead-Of-Time compiler. It can catch many errors at compile time, while still retaining REBOL's free code format. Lisp's parentheses are allowed to structure the code more, but not required, like in Logo. The semantics of the code are the same, as long as you start at the same point in the code. REBOL and Red only know for sure after execution, but Meta knows before execution.

posted by:   Kaj     17-Jan-2023/4:11:47-8:00



"...Sam's comment above: "I think one of the single greatest things that rebol did was make throwing together some sort of GUI for programs easily. It makes learning the rest of it palatable. ...I think and told Doc that his idea that abandoning the AGG library and rebols GUI for the idea of using the underlying libraries for each OS was a mistake."..."
    
I believe this. If you read the above, it sounds a little aggressive, if read wrong. I didn't really say it to Doc like this. I tried to be as diplomatic as I could but I think, possibly, he took it some sort of denial of his ability??? Maybe not, Iím just guessing. The whole reason I said this was because all this GUI stuff for all the major platforms is a massive hairball of complexity. It's just a huge amount of stuff. It doesn't matter how good you are, the VOLUME is enough to drag anyone down. I tried, and failed, to get him to just use AGG or whip up some basic GUI, then work on all the rest as the GUI stuff could come later. Maybe I said it wrong. I never meant to be anything but helpful but...
    
What Kaj is doing is very hopeful and I thank him for doing all this work for the betterment of us all.
    
I also think still that a simple GUI like Rebol had is very important. One shortcut, if you just can't stand a single GUI type, might be to have style plug-ins for each platform, skin it, that are nothing but window dressing mostly.
    
I also think making code that corresponds to each platform library is a mistake in the long run. The reason is this stuff is a lot of work. So let's say you do it anyway. Well then not a few years down the road the OS's will change the whole thing up to something else as they have to have new shiny stuff to sell. Then you are back at zero and would have to start all over again rewriting all the GUI that almost killed you in first place. Just a few people can not do all that. They will get burnt out, and the complexity means no one else will do it either, and the whole thing will die from bit rot. It's not that Iím clairvoyant or smarter than much of anyone. Itís just inevitable that this will happen due to the volume of work needed to keep up with all this. Just the work needed to keep the language going is enough to keep anyone busy.

posted by:   Sam the Truck     21-Sep-2023/18:52:45-7:00



After I wrote the above I was looking at resources to program the ESP32 microcontroller, which is impressive BTW, and ran across "Light and Versatile Graphics Library". Amazing, this thing runs on a microcontroller. This shows what can be done with a tiny library.
    
30+ built-in widgets, 100+ style properties, web inspired layout managers, and a typography system supporting many languages. All these features fit in a very small memory footprint. LVGL runs on any modern MCU or MPU.
    
     Architecture: 16, 32 or 64 bit
     Clock speed: > 64MHz
     RAM: 4kB + 150byte / widget (~48kB for a UI with a few screens)
     Flash: ~100kB for LVGL (depends on the enabled features)
     Draw buffer: > 1/10 screen size buffer for rendering
     Frame buffer: at least 1 frame buffer in a display controller, internal- or external RAM
     Compiler: C99 or higher
     Build system: LVGL has no external dependencies. Just copy it into your project and compile it with the other files of your project
    
And it's MIT license.


posted by:   Sam the Truck     21-Sep-2023/21:14:32-7:00



LVGL looks amazing - love that they have the demos working on the web site :)

posted by:   Nick     21-Sep-2023/22:33:41-7:00



LVGL looks amazing - love that they have the demos working on the web site :)

posted by:   Nick     21-Sep-2023/22:33:41-7:00



Good thinking, an LVGL binding is in the works.

posted by:   Kaj     22-Sep-2023/4:07:45-7:00



Oooooooh, that's great to hear :)

posted by:   Nick     22-Sep-2023/6:53:43-7:00



Certainly will be a good option. Looks a bit to me that it is used to sell their real product SquareLine. But anyway for as long as the fun lasts a good starting option. Any progress to mention yet?

posted by:   Arnold     2-Oct-2023/7:13:11-7:00



This year has been disruptive for several reasons. Progress is slower than normal, but still ongoing.

posted by:   Kaj     3-Oct-2023/8:10:36-7:00



That annoying user with his petty program errors. I know all about that! ;-)
Hope things will smoothen out a little.

posted by:   Arnold     4-Oct-2023/10:18:06-7:00



In the past year, Meta has changed from a plan economy to user-driven, yes. :-) It's an adjustment, but the goal was always to have users, so all good.

posted by:   Kaj     4-Oct-2023/16:14:08-7:00



Kaj, have you seen this?
    
https://justine.lol/cosmopolitan/index.html

posted by:   Nick     1-Dec-2023/9:11:42-8:00



Certainly, the PC versions of Meta are based on APE and Cosmopolitan.

posted by:   Kaj     1-Dec-2023/9:19:12-8:00



There's a Llama project getting attention, written in it:
    
https://github.com/Mozilla-Ocho/llamafile

posted by:   Nick     1-Dec-2023/9:45:27-8:00



Nice! I knew she was also doing AI, but this is deep integration.

posted by:   Kaj     2-Dec-2023/8:08:21-8:00



This little reactive framework may mesh with your values, if you're mating any web UI with Meta:
    
https://vanjs.org/

posted by:   Nick     21-Dec-2023/9:03:04-8:00



Really neat, thanks!
    
The way I write my websites looks quite a bit like they are written in VanJS. Except nicer, because it's a REBOL dialect (Meta in the future). :-) VanJS goes further with dynamic features, though, so it would certainly be a source of inspiration.

posted by:   Kaj     22-Dec-2023/4:41:02-8:00



Hi Kaj,
    
First of all, thank you for providing the community a new tool and congratulations for putting the effort to build it.
    
I came to Rebol already late, in 2014 I think.
Still, built a project in it and like it a lot.
    
Red promised a lot, but fell short.
    
Do you have or could you build a table comparing Rebol, Meta (and maybe Red) feature by feature?
For example, for each data type, gui, tls, email...
    
Thank you.

posted by:   Mendes     5-Jan-2024/12:52:58-8:00



Hello Mendes. Glad you like Meta.
    
Meta is designed and implemented so that no language will ever be able to surpass it, so it's meant for the future. You actually came early to the REBOL language family. :-)
    
Meta actually has a table of comparisons with other languages built in, but it's at a detail level. It gives you a corresponding Meta word or sometimes sequence when it detects a word from those other languages, so it's hands-on help.
    
I do want to write a more comprehensive comparison for the documentation, also because the built-in table is accessible for AI to learn from. But it's not a priority yet. One reason is that a comparison currently would look to disfavour Meta. A lot is not implemented yet. However, Meta is developed to have functionaly fast, although often through workarounds.
    
For example, you can have TLS and email by calling cURL through the commmand line, and the Meta compiler front-end does this to call the build service.

posted by:   Kaj     6-Jan-2024/10:14:06-8:00



Hi Kaj,
    
At https://language.metaproject.frl what should I download to compile and run Meta locally in a Linux amd64 system?
The instructions are not clear for me.
run and compile always use a remote service to run or compile code?
Is it possible to use meta without Internet connection?
    


posted by:   lib20     14-Feb-2024/19:01:55-8:00



Hello Lib20,
    
The instructions for Linux start here:
language.metaproject.frl#APE
    
You just download run.com, rename it to run and make it executable in the standard Linux way.
    
Yes, it uses the remote build service, and no, running Meta without Internet connection won't be possible until well into the future.
    
Which parts of the instructions are unclear to you?

posted by:   Kaj     15-Feb-2024/2:22:40-8:00



If you are under the impression that you can't run a Meta program without Internet, that is not the case. It's the compiler that is the remote build service. As the instructions state, run.com produces a program.com with your Meta program. You can rerun this without using run.com.

posted by:   Kaj     15-Feb-2024/2:34:38-8:00



Hi Kaj,
    
Thank you for the clarification.
    
It's unusual, at least for me, to have a remote build service, as what is current is to have the tools locally available for compilation.
What is the rationale behind it?
    
Another question. Not that I'm doing anything obscure with Meta, just trying out. But in this way, the remote building service has access to all source code of the users. Is this intended to be continue like that?
    
Thank you.

posted by:   lib20     15-Feb-2024/6:53:38-8:00



The rationale is in the instructions:
language.metaproject.frl#get
The compiler is too complex for most people to install and the Meta source code is not ready to be open-sourced. Many modern development environments are online, so this is increasingly expected and should be the best solution for most people. Many services tend to have access to your source code, GitHub for example.
    
The plan is in the road map:
language.metaproject.frl#later
Since the compiler is too complex, a standalone Meta installation will require an interpreter, and this will take years to develop.

posted by:   Kaj     15-Feb-2024/9:17:36-8:00



@Kaj
"...Meta is designed and implemented so that no language will ever be able to surpass it..."
    
(NO snark intended.)
Big words, hope you're right.

posted by:   Sam the Truck     1-Jun-2024/5:39:06-7:00



@Nick
    
These are both interesting.
    
Llama project
https://github.com/Mozilla-Ocho/llamafile
    
web UI
https://vanjs.org/

posted by:   Sam the Truck     1-Jun-2024/5:45:42-7:00



I followed the development of languages and the REBOL family in particular for decades, from 8-bit to now. The possibilities kept growing due to more powerful hardware, but languages always made compromises, which led to successors a decade or so later. I considered many such compromises, but eventually decided that it takes too long to make a modern language. If you don't want to succumb to a successor after all that work, you should make no compromises.
    
Therefore, Meta makes very few compromises, and that's for example why it supports 8-bit machines and in the best case is capable of generating code that is as efficient and fast as hand-written assembly. I left no room to surpass this at the low level.
    
Now we know that REBOL was designed as a language engine, to create new dialects. We don't know what languages will be needed in the future, but we do know that once Meta supports this REBOL functionality, it will be able to implement them. And because there is no viable way to surpass its efficiency, no future language will be able to do it more efficiently than Meta.
    
REBOL tried to do this from a golden cage, which also made it vulnerable. We can't convince everyone, so there is a world outside REBOL. Therefore, Meta does away with the golden cage and makes no compromise in interfacing with that outside world, directly supporting all datatypes that can be implemented in C or assembly.

posted by:   Kaj     1-Jun-2024/7:22:50-7:00



From my perspective, getting IT, security, and legal departments to accept any new tool is key to the tool's success. Institutional policies and procedures regarding compliance with HIPAA, PCI, and other regulations are typically the product of long histories, and are unwavering in most cases. No matter how well engineered any tool is, it won't be accepted for use, if it's not approved as compliant. All the lawyers, security teams, IT departments, etc. care about is that the infrastructure and procedure are compliant. In the past 8 months, I've gotten Anvil approved for production use in multiple government projects, hospital medical billing projects, apps used to accept payments that are strictly compliant, etc. - all governed by HIPAA, PCI, and other compliance requirements. In some cases, where entire organizations run entirely within the Microsoft ecosystem, only MSSQL was allowed for storage of PHI (not even Postgres), and everything needed to run only on Windows Server 2022, with only Active Directory authentication mechanisms approved (I typically otherwise choose to deploy on Linux and use framework authentication). There is absolutely no getting around those requirements, and in none of those situations, were any of the requirements impossible to satisfy, because the ecosystems which have grown up around the tools I use, have matured to specifically support all those diverse potential requirements. If Meta is to be used in any environment where compliance is required (any environment where great paying work is abundant), then getting Meta approved and proven to satisfy those compliance standards is an unequivocal requirement, if it's going to be commercially successful. Just my 2 cents, from the perspective of the work I'm currently doing.

posted by:   Nick     1-Jun-2024/10:10:20-7:00



Meta is about innovation and efficiency. Bureaucracy is the reverse of that, so Meta is not about that. Bureaucracy is built to not be convinced, so there is no point in trying. Bureaucracy is the ultimate laggard, so it will use Meta once everyone else has long been using it.
    
I have worked for government. The money poored in every month, but I felt useless, so I stopped. That decision has been made long ago. If Meta targeted bureaucracy, it would fail miserably, become bureacracy like others and make me miserable.
    
Government has a monopoly on taxation, so I know it's easy money. But it's not fulfilling. And not everything is government, yet. Meta's destiny is elsewhere.

posted by:   Kaj     1-Jun-2024/10:36:57-7:00



I've been really enjoying this work, and have been productively engaged in those environments. It's been satisfying and fun to get so many projects completed that are going to help improve the environments and workflows in which they're used. I have noticed that very often there are several dozen project managers, DBOs, security team members, IT teams, more layers of management, and a lot of employees, providers, etc., and I'm typically the only person actually writing any software. That doesn't bother me one bit :-) I'd love to see Meta's ecosystem eventually naturally mature to the point, that it has the connectivity required to be used in those environments. It may not be an interest of yours Kaj, but I imagine just being able to connect to a few databases,
systems and to connect with a few systems such as Active Directory authorization, to transfer data over https, etc., that's all which would be needed. That's the sort of thing, when Meta is ready, that I'd like to be involved and helping to create.

posted by:   Nick     1-Jun-2024/22:44:13-7:00



Sure, making more connections from Meta to the outside world is fine, and that's what Meta is designed for, but that's a whole different cup of tea than seeking US certifications. I don't know any programming language that advertises certifications, apart from standardisations such as ISO.

posted by:   Kaj     3-Jun-2024/4:19:18-7:00



No advertising needed - developers are given the requirements, which can either be satisfied or not. If a tool doesn't comply with policies and procedures, then another tool is chosen.

posted by:   Nick     3-Jun-2024/9:18:03-7:00



That's the normal way things work. We can't support all requirements overnight, so as with the building of Rome, it's a matter of time.
    
Some people and organisations choose to severely limit their choice of tools by posing unnecessary requirements. That's their loss.

posted by:   Kaj     3-Jun-2024/14:52:17-7:00



The problem is that compliance is required by law, and the people in management positions at organizations tend to always choose to build policies and procedures around well known tools, because those tools have a tradition of proving their ability to satisfy compliance requirements, and that keeps managing from having to stand in front of a judge, explaining why they made the choice to use a non-compliant tool, which made it possible for the PHI of thousands of users to be leaked - with a potential $35,000 fine to the company, per leaked user.
    
The good news is that even among the unbreakable cult of Microsoft ecosystem, which is most popular in government and military, and which is very popular in medical, payment, and other industries which face compliance requirements, the data is typically stored in MSSQL, and authorization is typically handled by Active Directory. That places all the data management and security obligations upon the DBO and security teams at those organizations. Whether the organization's requirements require working within a Microsoft environment, or Linux/some other OS + some other DB + some other auth system, what's typically required is an ORM which connects to the database (or just pure SQL), and an interface to the auth system, and of course HTTPS to ensure encryption during transit (encryption at rest is typically managed at the DB or OS level). So those requirements aren't *too much of a lift satisfy compliance requirements. I'm sure you're aware of all this Kaj, just for others who are interested in seeing Meta catch on and be useful for lucrative work...

posted by:   Nick     7-Jun-2024/8:14:03-7:00



Sorry, but these are scare tactics. They're used by big organisations to keep small ones out of their markets.
    
This is not the kind of stuff that programming languages need to worry about. They aim to enable things. Certifications aim to disable things. Where certifications are in play, they apply to specific parts of specific libraries that languages can use, such as encryption requirements for SSL.
    
Meta is designed to interface seamlessly with libraries, specifically those with C interfaces. When we need a certification, we can get it by using a library that already has it. For example, we're not going to roll our own SSL crypto like REBOL did, we're going to use existing libraries. (Currently cURL through the RUN method. Yes, the Meta web sites and compiler clients are certified.)
    
This seems a good time to remind about our road map:
    
language.metaproject.frl#when
    
Meta is designed to enable almost anything, but that means we need to make specific choices in our planning, because it should be obvious that it's impossible to do everything at once. When someone wants something, for example something certified, they can contact us to fund it. This should be no problem if it, as you say, enables lucrative work.
    
In the future, extra interfaces and dialects will enable users to write such library bindings themselves in Meta. These binding interfaces are also open for funding.

posted by:   Kaj     7-Jun-2024/8:59:03-7:00



Regulations aren't 'scare' tactics, they're laws and policies which are put in place to protect sensitive information. We need to comply with laws and regulations. Organizations put policies and procedures in place so that they don't get fined, sued, or have legal action taken against them. One organization I'm working with now has 3000+ tech employees. They select technologies they know they can hire for, and which are trusted, and then they don't ever waver from those choices, because they know that those choices can be supported consistently and securely. There are no 'certifications' that satisfy compliance with the laws, regulations, policies, etc., I'm working under. Of course everyone uses HTTPS, but there's no requirement for that specifically, just for 'encryption in transit' (and 'encryption at rest'), for example. Of course it's a given that we'll use HTTPS for encryption in transit because that's well established... just like Python, SQL, etc. are... Those choices have nothing to do with 'scare tactics'. I'm not scared into using Anvil, Python, etc. - I'm constantly overjoyed and tickled by the pleasure of working with it. Together with the use of GPT, I'm actually in the order of 100x more productive than I ever was with Rebol, and the whole process is ridiculously more enjoyable, productive, without limitations, etc. The previous decades felt like dark ages compared to the tools and processes I use every day now. No one's keeping me out of markets, I just learn the rules and do the work. It's not hard like it use to be, it's much more enjoyable. I still think Rebol embodied some really great ideas, and I still have a sweet spot for it in my heart, so I'd like to see Meta be successful. I don't need to criticize any other tools for that to be true. I don't see other professionals in this business trying to put down Rebol, Meta, or any other ecosystem - everyone's just trying to get work done with the tools that fit them best, making systems that improve productivity, capability, and the ability for people to perform their work better, with greater ease, etc. I love doing that. No one that I know really feels limited, we're all just working. And fantastic, extraordinary, mind-blowing, world changing innovation is happening every day, at a pace that's unimaginable, and constantly speeding up, with all these tools that you seem to immediately express fault in so quickly, any time anything other then Meta gets mentioned. AI is poised to change the course of humanity - if you're not using it daily, then you don't understand the absolutely outrageous innovation and improved capability it already provides humans, especially in any work that involves writing code. I truly believe, at the rate I'm seeing that progress improves, humans won't need to write code at all in the next 5 years, or sooner. I think that is not just relevant, but the only topic that actually matters, in this forum. And if you're not aware of that progress, you're in for an extremely rude awakening, very soon. As much as I enjoy what I'm doing, I'm preparing to do other work, because this industry is about to be decimated.

posted by:   Nick     7-Jun-2024/22:32:58-7:00



BTW, I do think people will continue to write code in the future, in the same way that people still ride horses, go camping, chose to live off grid, etc., but the state of productive, modern, software development is already blowing the doors off of anything that existed 5 years ago, let alone 20+ years ago when Rebol's values and ethos were competitive and innovative. Just ignoring that progress and trying to compete with capabilities, and to fix problems, that were at the forefront of a previous generation of language technology doesn't eliminate the ability of new technology to simply eclipse those problems and make them totally irrelevant. Machines writing code are already starting to do that in a big way. A couple more years of real innovation in that space, as well as absolutely massive ecosystem development to improve the agency of those systems, will render everything we know about software development (and virtually every other intellectual discipline) completely obsolete. I'm not some wackadoo on the fringe who knows this to be true. Very few people would suggest that young people invest their education learning to write code at this point. GPT already writes better code than most humans, and we're about that see those capabilities improve at an exponential rate. Ignoring that situation is just irresponsible.

posted by:   Nick     7-Jun-2024/22:52:52-7:00



I see trying to build a better programming language in 2024, as being a lot like someone trying to build a better horse shoe in the early 20th century. That doesn't mean that people should have stopped building a better horse shoe in the early 20th century, it just means that the benefits, and even the purpose of doing that changed in the early 20th century, just like the benefits and the purpose of building a better programming language in 2024 have changed. The value of building a better programming language is currently *in the process* of being paved over by AI. Just like someone who's life and passion in the earlier 20th century might have been thoroughly invested in building better horse shoes, there is beauty and human passion involved in making that happen, and I respect and appreciate those values, and think it is valid and worth while work to accomplish, but I think the world has already shifted around the necessity for both better horse shoes and better programming languages. That doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see a better programming language develop, and certainly Meta could be a likely candidate to make that happen, but it's important to recognize where that passion for innovation sits within the context of the changes in the surrounding world. Everything about software engineering, especially the tooling used to be productive and effective, is being utterly upended, right now in 2024. Old values are being radically eclipsed and entirely new skillsets are going to be required of humans - the places where human intellect will be put to use will be among entirely different classes of tools. That's not a hopeful prediction, it's an integral part of my daily activity, right now, and the speed of change, improvement, and unimaginable innovation is utterly staggering.

posted by:   Nick     7-Jun-2024/23:17:30-7:00



I'm only trying to express the truth of my experience during the past few years. GPT has written hundreds of thousands of lines of code for me, and it's improving dramatically. It's not just that, GPT has prepared letters, quotes, proposals, documentation, etc. to support all the work I do. I don't think a company of 100 experienced professionals could have been as productive in the past. *No programming language, or any other tool, could perform this work, or improve the experience and effectiveness of my work in any way that compares. I'm spending all the rest of this year learning to build deep learning systems, because that's where I see truly staggering innovation happening. That technology is the kind of innovation that will change the lives of every single human, and dramatically improve the future potential for life on Earth.

posted by:   Nick     7-Jun-2024/23:34:17-7:00



Part of the reason I suggested building out the pieces of connectivity which would enable Meta to satisfy compliance with HIPAA, PCI, etc., is that those areas of software development with likely be the last places where people will continue to work, precisely because organizations and projects in which compliance and government involvement is in play *are laggard, and they will likely be the last places where future AI development tools are accepted.

posted by:   Nick     8-Jun-2024/0:00:39-7:00



" I don't see other professionals in this business trying to put down Rebol, Meta, or any other ecosystem"
Really?
Not keeping my secret toolkit a secret for nothing.

posted by:   Arnold     8-Jun-2024/7:14:31-7:00



Yes really, I've been working in a professional environment, in which everyone is trying to work together just to get things *done, sharing experience and knowledge to make each project move through the most difficult challenges together, with a shared understanding of which parts of a project are expected to be the most difficult. All anybody cares about is that nobody else delays their part of the timeline. No one else cares what tools I'm using, except for the security team, as long as I'm not making their job any more difficult. Everyone I'm working with just appreciates *results - getting projects done well to satisfy everyone's needs and requirements, ahead of schedule. And the security teams arŤ just glad that I'm using well known tools which have been previously researched and accepted somewhere in the history of the organization. IT guys just want me to give them familiar hardware specs, OS requirements, network and connectivity requirements, working environments such as SSH, etc., that they're familiar with, and which they can configure and monitor using the tools they know. DB guys just want me to connect and authorize using the mechanisms that are acceptable for them. Users just want the features, workflows, exact UI specifications, logic and data management specifications, etc., to be satisfied precisely as they describe, without having to hear about what those challenges require technically. Project managers need timelines and budgets to be prepared and submitted without lots of discussions or meetings, and then managed ahead of schedule and under cost. Legal teams need me to comply with the contracts they have established. No one gives a s*** whether I'm working with python or some other - the only potential complaints ever come up if I have to use something which they have to take a huge amount of time to research and approve for use. They just give a s*** that I get the work done according to their requirements, that everyone in each piece of the organization is fully satisfied, and that no one has to go to court defending a choice that was made outside the ordinary expectations of normal and accepted practices. Generally, 'super secret toolkit' does not meet those requirements. Capable, well-known, rock solid, trusted, extraordinarily productive toolkits do.

posted by:   Nick     8-Jun-2024/8:53:12-7:00



But all this misses the point that really matters in 2024. Take a look at this:
    
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET-MmoeSvXk
    
The behaviors these robots acquired via AI training is far superior to the hand-crafted behaviors that were programmed by hard working, intelligent and capable human engineers at the manufacturers, who knew the models well. Self-learned walking and turning speed is 2-3x faster and more efficient than the human engineered solutions, standing-up performance is 2x better, ball kicking speed is 34% better than manufacturer specs, etc. And that took just a few days of pure AI self-learning, without any human programming effort (obviously there is agency and oversight by humans to establish and run the project, but the procedures are *entirely self-learned by the machines, as opposed to being programmed by human intelligence). There's no way that progress in programming language technology can lead to that sort of mind-boggling capability - and we're just at the very first inch in the million mile journey of how AI is going to effect the development of the world and the universe around us, using these sorts of techniques. Just extrapolate a little - putting effort and resources into that is where staggering innovation is going to be reaped. I'm already experiencing it every day in my work, and there's nothing in any programming language improvement that could even begin to compare to the benefits of incorporating AI. Anvil, Python, Meta,... whatever the language. Sure, build a better language, one that is more efficient, and more effective, and build up an ecosystem around it. That's a great goal, but get AI trained on it, because if it's not, there will be no comparison between what people are capable of achieving with it, and what others are able to achieve with lesser tools, using the speed and broad knowledge + constantly improving capabilities of AI assisted work. And of course, get it connected to all the other core components used in modern software systems (databases, auth systems, established encryption mechanisms, and other required protocols), if it's going to be used to do any serious work. I'm expressing an interest in seeing Meta become a success - I think there's beauty in Kaj's values, and I have interest in supporting the development of the pieces that I see being valuable, from the perspective of my work and experience. Poopooing that, or any other perspective from working professionals with input to try and help move towards success, is not something I would expect from supporters of a project that has serious intentions - even if those perspectives aren't pleasant to hear.

posted by:   Nick     8-Jun-2024/10:53:38-7:00



The key point is that, in the situation above, there's not even a mention of what programming language was involved, because that just doesn't matter, nearly as much as the fact that AI provided results that were better, and much faster than humans could achieve - by a long shot. In my work, GPT doesn't care what language tools I'm using - and other people are using it in droves to replace hundreds of workers and thousands of hours of human labor on projects, whatever the programming language (as long as it's been trained well enough on a vast corpus of material in that language ecosystem). Sure, make a better language, and connect it to necessary libraries, protocols, systems, etc.- and *then - train AI to use it, if you want it to be productive and useful compared to other systems and tools which people can apply AI capabilities to, to dramatically improve its productivity and usefulness. That's not a some-day requirement, that's a right-now requirement, and the value and weight of that requirement is going to skyrocket in during the next few years, dwarfing any other values, when it comes to value in the real world.
    
That's just my 2 cents, offered with the hope of providing support, and seeing genuine value in the benefit of Kaj's intent with this long project, which he's uniquely qualified for and motivated to complete. He'll make whatever choices work for his needs, and choose whether my foreign perspective has any value towards his purpose. I can see he feels my perspective is trivially unimportant, lacking in innovative purpose, and generally less important than his. And if he chooses that my perspective isn't relevant to his needs, that's all fine. I still respect and appreciate what he's doing. I'll just continue doing the work that I enjoy, and which is successfully affecting many people's lives in positive and profound ways, even if it's basically just CRUD database and UI work at it's core. I expect that that work, and all software engineering work, will look entirely different in a couple years, and that it's going in a direction that we can't even imagine right now. If the idea of the usefulness of programming languages dissolves away with that progress, I'll roll with that change, because my interest in tech has always been about improving human life in the natural world. In the meantime, these topics are still relevant, and putting into perspective how they're changing, from my point of view, is only meant to be helpful.

posted by:   Nick     8-Jun-2024/11:24:26-7:00



Here's some help getting started:
    
https://chatgpt.com/g/g-RXGxcsMyA-meta-code-guru
    
We can use that GPT to begin learning about Meta, taking off from the previous examples I've posted here on the forum. That GPT will continue to learn from any documentation that's uploaded, and any interaction we have with it about Meta. It knows hardly anything about Meta now, but for example, if you upload any documentation, any code examples, have conversations with it like you would with a person, to teach it how Meta works, it will start to learn how to do more and more.

posted by:   Nick     8-Jun-2024/15:00:40-7:00



Ideally, this should be done with one of the open source models, and then run in an environment with Groq chips performing the inference.

posted by:   Nick     8-Jun-2024/15:02:44-7:00



Try something like this:
    
"Please create an application in 'Meta' which accepts a start date and end date as inputs, and calculates the number of dates between those dates."
    
and then explain what it gets wrong and why, just like you would to a person.

posted by:   Nick     8-Jun-2024/15:07:05-7:00



Try something like this:
    
"Please create an application in 'Meta' which accepts a start date and end date as inputs, and calculates the number of dates between those dates."
    
and then explain what it gets wrong and why, just like you would to a person.

posted by:   Nick     8-Jun-2024/15:07:07-7:00



Paste in working code examples

posted by:   Nick     8-Jun-2024/15:08:17-7:00



It 'learned' from the master :-)
    
About the secret tool: I learned in various organisations big and small that other people do not 'get' Rebol like languages. They are happy enough to have mastered the languages of choice of the organisation itself and do not want to learn another new thing necessarily.
Owners of companies see trouble in hiring replacement staff for obscure lanuages or missing features. Managers also do not want the risk of becoming responsible for problems caused by impossibility of hiring replacements for programmers or possible vulnerabilities in that software.
    
One needs a real strong case to embed an unknown into the equation.
    
Hence I mostly used my 'secret weapon of choice' to create programs to quickly create scripts where some variables needed to be filled and could be mixed up easy. Saved many hours in firstly creating and later not needing to fix mistakes that could have been made.

posted by:   Arnold     8-Jun-2024/15:19:16-7:00



I gave it a task to make Roman numerals from an integer number. It came up with a beautiful solution using a func!
LoL!

posted by:   Arnold     9-Jun-2024/4:27:42-7:00



The biggest problem with AI is that it's indeterminant . We just have to watch and see how well a deep learning project does at solving problems. The biggest determining factors are the size of the model and the quality/volume of data it's fed. That GPT has the benefit of already knowing about the world and other languages, so it should be able to apply RAG with some genuinely good reasoning capabilities, but it's still a black box. Feeding it code and docs, interacting with it to provide feedback about which outputs are 'correct' would give it the best chance at really becoming capable at reasoning with Meta. I'm curious to see how well it does if it's given some real data to learn from.

posted by:   Nick     9-Jun-2024/7:32:18-7:00



Nick, thanks for the GPT. That's the kind of contributions we like to see. However, it's not useful yet. Currently, it answers any and all questions with the complete code for our PigLatin CGI program.
    
Your example session last year was much more useful. I guess you didn't train this one on anything Meta-related?
    
We can't train an AI by hand step by step. The idea is that it automates that and helps us instead.
    
Our project has long had a stance on AI. Please read it in the introduction on the web site:
    
language.metaproject.frl
    
It's also in the goals:
    
language.metaproject.frl#goals
    
Languages are not horse shoes. Generative AI targets them to write software, together with humans. They're not called LLM's for nothing: languages are the bread and butter of Large Languages Models. Designing a new language offers the opportunity to optimise it for AI.
    
But again, Rome wasn't built in a day. It also wasn't built without the support of the people. All this will happen if people support it. This is all about priorities in project management. Volunteer projects tend to fail when a small number of people try to implement everyone's demands without compensation. If I don't eat or get burned out, there will be no new language for the public, with or without AI. Therefore, from the start, the Meta project has had a strategy of the support of the public driving the development:
    
language.metaproject.frl#when
    
Development priorities are in the following order:
    
1: Whatever I need in my own projects to make a living, or to stay motivated. This certainly includes strategic developments, but without any guarantees, including timelines.
    
2: Whatever features are funded. I designed Meta to be able to do almost anything. Whoever wants something can contact me:
    
language.metaproject.frl#contact
    
3: Whatever contributors need who make substantial contributions. Arnold has been writing documentation, and you can base AI on that. So I have been implementing features he needs.

posted by:   Kaj     11-Jun-2024/16:19:47-7:00



Nick,"...I have noticed that very often there are several dozen project managers, DBOs, security team members, IT teams, more layers of management, and a lot of employees, providers, etc., and I'm typically the only person actually writing any software..."
    
HAHHAHAA
    
Those who can, do, those who can not, teach (and the new addendum) "or supervise".

posted by:   Sam the Truck     12-Jun-2024/11:47:46-7:00



I have been very worried about the rise of AI and its effects on humanity. I think reasonably so, as they are this huge ball of algorithms that we know nothing about and can not tweak.
But...
    
I found a paper that I believe shows a path to using LLMs as a short cut to very quickly make a reasonably useful humanoid helper robots. If what these guys say is true, I think it could be a big breakthrough.
    
These guys have a paper on "control vectors". Two quotes,
    
"...Representation Engineering: A Top-Down Approach to AI Transparency. That paper looks at a few methods of doing what they call "Representation Engineering": calculating a "control vector" that can be read from or added to model activations during inference to interpret or control the model's behavior, without prompt engineering or finetuning..."
    
"...control vectors areÖ wellÖ awesome for controlling models and getting them to do what you want..."
    
And a really important quote at the bottom of the paper.
    
"...What are these vectors really doing? An Honest mystery...
Do these vectors really change the model's intentions? Do they just up-rank words related to the topic? Something something simulators? Lock your answers in before reading the next paragraph!
OK, now that you're locked in, here's a weird example. When used with the prompt below, the honesty vector doesn't change the model's behavioróinstead, it changes the model's judgment of someone else's behavior! This is the same honesty vector as beforeógenerated by asking the model to act honest or untruthful!..."
    
So it doesn't change the model, it just reinforces certain "parts" of the model. It chooses the neural path the AI uses to reach conclusions. I think this is key.
    
The paper link that has a link to the academic paper.
    
Representation Engineering Mistral-7B an Acid Trip
    
https://vgel.me/posts/representation-engineering/
    
By changing a few values, they get very wide distributions of responses or behaviors. I submit that if this works as they say then this could be the key to leverage the vast work done on LLMs but to use it for our own personal purposes.
    
LLMs as pointed out are nothing but statistical representations, but they are also recognition of ideas and things that are programmed to be, let's say, operate together or in existence. So when you talk to an AI it can use things that exist or ideas repeatedly stated to give responses. The ideas it is trained on are human ideas, so easy to relate to us. We need this. There is HUGE, MASSIVE amount of human interactions they are trained on. LLMs have a large strong statistical base for actions that can be done to help humans. Forget innovation. I'm talking about basic stuff. One example would be nursing home care. It would be hugely profitable, AND it would lower cost dramatically if older people could stay in their homes. Maybe at first only help them get stuff or go to the restroom, pick up stuff. Simple mobility type actions. Later with instruction and careful watching I suggest they could easily cook, clean, etc. Household chores.
    
What is needed is to tell the robot WHAT to do with the huge list of human statistical interactions already programmed in, and with control vectors we can possibly do this.
    
I say that it's likely control vectors can be super complicated, so what we need is a short cut. We need the AI to write its own control vectors (here's where the magic starts as I don't know how to do this), but remember the LLM has logical statistical interference built in. It seems logical that with it giving us feedback on what it is doing, and us correcting or agreeing, it could write reasonably accurate control vectors. So we use very low level keys to trigger it to write suitable control vectors for us.
    
How? Like children. A few simple keywords, no, yes, don't do that, stop, move here, move there, I like that, that's good, that's bad. In fact, the whole, programming, write control vector, repertoire could be less than a hundred words. Combine this with a subroutine of the AI that would use logical interference when you use these trigger words AND explains what it is doing that is good, and or bad. It would then write its own control vectors. Just like kids learn. And since kids have built in bullshit and trouble nodes, and an AI is less likely to, the process might be really, really faster.(You really should watch the movie "A.I. Rising" (2018). Not because it's the best ever, but it has an almost direct representation of what I'm talking about. And if nothing else it has Stoya in it, who is hot as hell).
    
I suggest that these control vectors should be stored in snapshots because I have no doubt that they will at times get off track. Some will run over others, and you will need to go back, just like Windows has a go back OS function.
    
It may be possible some genius can find a way to blend or make permanent these control vectors into the main neural net of the system if you find sets that are satisfactory.
    
I think this is actually how conscience works. I said this might be the case before elsewhere.
    
I said,
"...I see intelligence, and I can presume to pontificate about it just as well as anyone because no one "really" knows, I see it as a bag of tricks. Mammals are born with a large stack of them built in..."
    
Look at animals, monkeys, Giraffes come out of Mom and in 5 minutes are walking around. Same with all sorts of animals, including humans. Babies reach a certain age and they just start doing basically pre-programmed stuff. Terrible twos. Teenagers start rebelling. It's just the base level of the neural net. I think using LLMs as a template, we can do the same. Start with a decent one and then yes/no/stop/do this/do that, until it overlays a reasonable set of rules that we can live with.
    
LLMs, as stated repeatedly, really are just a bag of tricks. But if the bag is big enough and has enough tricks in it...
    
Look at the power of a top end desktop, not human level yet, but it's getting there. And the bag of tricks for humans has been programmed for millions of years. LLMS, a few years. I think it possible that a high end present desktop right now could be trained to at a minimum do the first level task of helping people move around, watching them for signs of danger, basic stuff. And it would not surprise me in the least if the same desktop level power could not do some cooking and serving with suitable instruction on the resident's house, wash dishes, etc.
    
This path also, I think, will alleviate a huge fear of mine, no empathy. I think by telling the robot when it does things wrong to "be nice"(a key word), "think of others" (same), I think this will over time be a mass of control vectors that will spontaneously add up to empathy and care for others. Lots and lots of little nudges adding up to more than the sum of each. My worry was that a big hodgepodge of a neural net pretrained is so complicated no one could tell what it was going to do. These little added constraints built up in layers seem far safer to me, and if I had my way would make all of them mandatory for any robot helper.
    
Some people have portrayed my questioning about the safety of AI as some doom and gloom, but it's not. It's the realization that without being programmed with the proper "bag of tricks" and the proper control vectors, we have something super smart that acts just like the psychopaths that are in fact running the West right now. (There are lots of papers on the apparent psychopathic behavior of LLMs). I don't think any of us want something even smarter and more powerful doing that. A disaster even bigger than the one we have now.
    
The paper above really relieved a lot of angst I had about AIs. The impossibility of retraining them and all the massive resources needed can be bypassed, and little corrections added that do not require vast resources and steer the AI gently in the right direction. That's my hope, anyways.

posted by:   Sam the Truck     12-Jun-2024/12:35:35-7:00



Sam, thank you for all that - I've got it in my queue to read.
    
Kaj and Arnold, I did not set up the GPT above well, so I've removed it. I'll get another going when I have more time to do more detailed work. I'd really like to work on fine tuning something like Code Llama (from the other Meta) for Meta language - maybe that's a project for this and/or next year... (I'm sure the progress we see by then will provide much better models and techniques).

posted by:   Nick     12-Jun-2024/21:47:33-7:00



Here's a new GPT for Meta:
    
https://chatgpt.com/g/g-IFgC9unAX-meta-code-master
    
It's meant to learn from documentation, code examples, questions, and interactions with users.

posted by:   Nick     13-Jun-2024/5:11:49-7:00



I fixed some of the problems with the previous GPT, and this appears to be working better. I tried questions like:
    
Please explain how loops work in Meta
Please explain how functions work in Meta
    
It's set up to learn from interactions with users, and to learn from uploaded documentation and examples. If you teach it, correct it, and provide working code, it should learn and improve in its abilities to generate working Meta output, and to reason about how to use Meta more effectively.

posted by:   Nick     13-Jun-2024/5:22:33-7:00



I've only provided some of Arnold's documentation, some files from the official docs, and a copy of the previous pig latin and CGI discussion that I uploaded here. It needs many more examples to learn from, and lots of interaction to get better. Its purpose is to learn more about Meta, and to assimilate understanding acquired from interactions and data provided by users. I hope this version works more smoothly - it should no longer be obsessed with pig latin and the previous CGI example.

posted by:   Nick     13-Jun-2024/5:30:08-7:00



If it doesn't provide correct responses, or if it hallucinates answers, that's most likely because it doesn't have enough data (code, documentation, etc.) to work with. The best way to get it to improve is to provide more documentation and high quality examples, and to correct it and interact with it - just teach it like you would a human - hopefully it will learn much faster than a human :)

posted by:   Nick     13-Jun-2024/5:34:48-7:00



Here's the output of my first interactions with it:
    
    
Attached is a previous interaction with ChatGPT about the Meta programming language, which includes some Meta code generated by ChatGPT. Can you learn anything useful about Meta from this discussion?
    
Based on the documentation and details from the provided file, hereís how you can build a web app in Meta that accepts a personís name, address, and phone number and saves each entry as a line in a CSV file.
    
Step 1: Create the HTML Form
First, you need an HTML form to collect the userís input. This form will send the data to a Meta CGI script.
    
html
Copy code



     Meta Web App


    

        

        

        

        

        

        

        
    



Step 2: Create the Meta CGI Script
Next, create the Meta script that will handle the POST request, extract the user input, and save it to a CSV file.
    
meta
Copy code
Meta [
     Title: "Save Data CGI Script"
     Author: "Your Name"
     Purpose: "Save user input to a CSV file"
]
    
; Write the HTTP header
write/line {Content-Type: text/html
}
    
; Read POST data from STDIN
data-in: read
    
; Extract the content length
content-length: to integer! select system/environment "CONTENT_LENGTH"
    
; Read the actual data
data-in: copy cut data-in content-length
    
; Parse the input data
params: parse data-in "&"
name: find params "name="
address: find params "address="
phone: find params "phone="
    
; Extract actual values
name: copy cut name (find name "&") - 5
address: copy cut address (find address "&") - 8
phone: copy cut phone (find phone "&") - 6
    
; URL decode the values
name: replace/all name "+" " "
address: replace/all address "+" " "
phone: replace/all phone "+" " "
    
; Append the data to the CSV file
data-line: join/with name "," address "," phone newline
append %data.csv data-line
    
; Confirmation message
write/line ""
write/line ""
write/line "

Data Saved Successfully!

"
write/line ""
write/line ""
Step 3: Configure the Web Server
Ensure your web server is configured to handle CGI scripts and that the script is executable.
    
Place the HTML form file in the appropriate directory, typically in the public_html or similar directory.
Place the Meta CGI script (save-data.cgi) in the cgi-bin directory.
Make the Meta CGI script executable:
sh
Copy code
chmod +x /path/to/cgi-bin/save-data.cgi
Step 4: Test the Web Application
Open the HTML form in a web browser.
Fill out the form and submit it.
The Meta CGI script should process the input and save it to data.csv. You should see a confirmation message indicating the data was saved successfully.
This example assumes basic knowledge of HTML forms, CGI scripting, and the Meta programming environment. Adjust the paths and configurations as necessary for your specific server setup.
    
Will Meta Code Master add the knowledge gained from that example to its abilities?
    
Yes, I will integrate the knowledge from the example into my understanding to better assist with future queries about the Meta programming language and its applications, especially regarding CGI scripting, handling user input, and file operations. This example provided a practical scenario for creating a web application in Meta, and it will enhance my capability to guide and support users in similar contexts.
    
Feel free to ask any further questions or for more examples and assistance with Meta programming!
    
Please explain how loops work in Meta
    
Certainly! Loops in Meta are constructs that allow you to execute a block of code repeatedly based on a specified condition. They are essential for tasks that require repetitive operations, such as iterating over collections, performing operations until a condition is met, or processing data in chunks.
    
Here are some common types of loops in Meta, along with explanations and examples of how they work:
    
1. While Loop
A while loop repeatedly executes a block of code as long as the specified condition is true. It checks the condition before executing the block of code.
    
Syntax:
meta
Copy code
while condition [
     ; code to execute
]
Example:
meta
Copy code
counter: 0
while counter < 10 [
     print ["Counter value: " counter]
     counter: counter + 1
]
In this example, the loop prints the value of counter and increments it by 1 each time, continuing until counter is no longer less than 10.
    
2. Until Loop
An until loop executes a block of code repeatedly until the specified condition becomes true. It checks the condition after executing the block of code, ensuring the block is executed at least once.
    
Syntax:
meta
Copy code
until condition [
     ; code to execute
]
Example:
meta
Copy code
counter: 0
until counter = 10 [
     print ["Counter value: " counter]
     counter: counter + 1
]
In this example, the loop increments and prints the counter value until it reaches 10.
    
3. For Loop
A for loop iterates over a range of values, executing a block of code for each value in the range. This type of loop is useful for iterating a specific number of times.
    
Syntax:
meta
Copy code
for variable start stop step [
     ; code to execute
]
Example:
meta
Copy code
for i 1 10 1 [
     print ["Value of i: " i]
]
In this example, the loop iterates from 1 to 10 (inclusive), incrementing i by 1 on each iteration and printing its value.
    
4. Foreach Loop
A foreach loop iterates over each element in a collection, such as a list or array, executing a block of code for each element.
    
Syntax:
meta
Copy code
foreach item collection [
     ; code to execute
]
Example:
meta
Copy code
names: ["Alice" "Bob" "Charlie"]
foreach name names [
     print ["Hello, " name]
]
In this example, the loop iterates over each name in the names list and prints a greeting for each name.
    
5. Repeat Loop
A repeat loop executes a block of code a specified number of times. It's similar to a for loop but more concise.
    
Syntax:
meta
Copy code
repeat count [
     ; code to execute
]
Example:
meta
Copy code
repeat 5 [
     print "This is a repeated message."
]
In this example, the message is printed 5 times.
    
Summary
Loops in Meta provide flexible and powerful ways to perform repetitive tasks. Understanding the different types of loops and their use cases allows you to write efficient and effective code for a variety of scenarios. The examples provided illustrate basic loop constructs, which you can adapt to more complex tasks as needed. If you need further details or examples on a specific type of loop or a more complex use case, feel free to ask!
    
Please explain how functions work in Meta
    
Functions in Meta are essential for organizing code into reusable blocks. They allow you to encapsulate specific tasks, making your code more modular, readable, and maintainable. Hereís a detailed explanation of how functions work in Meta, along with examples.
    
Defining Functions
Functions in Meta are defined using the func keyword, followed by a specification block for parameters and a body block containing the code to be executed.
    
Syntax:
meta
Copy code
func [parameters] [
     ; code to execute
]
Example:
meta
Copy code
; Define a function that adds two numbers
add-numbers: func [a b] [
     result: a + b
     return result
]
    
; Call the function and print the result
print add-numbers 5 7 ; Output: 12
In this example:
    
add-numbers is the name of the function.
[a b] are the parameters.
The function body adds the two parameters and returns the result.
The function is called with arguments 5 and 7, and the result is printed.
Parameters and Return Values
Functions can accept any number of parameters, and you can specify default values for optional parameters. Functions can return values using the return keyword.
    
Example:
meta
Copy code
; Define a function with a default parameter
greet: func [name greeting "Hello"] [
     return rejoin [greeting ", " name "!"]
]
    
; Call the function with and without the optional parameter
print greet "Alice"         ; Output: Hello, Alice!
print greet "Bob" "Hi"     ; Output: Hi, Bob!
In this example:
    
greeting has a default value of "Hello".
When the function is called without the second argument, the default value is used.
Local Variables
Variables declared inside a function are local to that function. They do not interfere with variables outside the function.
    
Example:
meta
Copy code
; Define a function with local variables
calculate-area: func [length width] [
     area: length * width
     return area
]
    
; Call the function and print the result
print calculate-area 5 10 ; Output: 50
Higher-Order Functions
Functions in Meta can take other functions as arguments or return functions. This allows for higher-order functions and functional programming patterns.
    
Example:
meta
Copy code
; Define a function that applies a given function to two numbers
apply-function: func [f x y] [
     return f x y
]
    
; Define a simple addition function
add: func [a b] [
     return a + b
]
    
; Call the higher-order function
print apply-function add 3 4 ; Output: 7
Recursion
Functions in Meta can be recursive, meaning they can call themselves. This is useful for tasks that require repetitive breakdowns, like factorial calculation or tree traversal.
    
Example:
meta
Copy code
; Define a recursive function to calculate factorial
factorial: func [n] [
     if n <= 1 [return 1]
     return n * factorial n - 1
]
    
; Call the function and print the result
print factorial 5 ; Output: 120
Anonymous Functions
Meta supports anonymous functions (lambdas), which are functions without a name. These are useful for short, throwaway functions.
    
Example:
meta
Copy code
; Define an anonymous function and call it immediately
print (func [a b] [a + b]) 10 15 ; Output: 25
Summary
Functions in Meta provide a way to create reusable and modular code. Key aspects include:
    
Defining functions with func.
Using parameters and return values.
Utilizing local variables to avoid scope conflicts.
Employing higher-order functions for advanced patterns.
Implementing recursion for repetitive tasks.
Creating anonymous functions for temporary use.
Understanding these principles allows you to effectively organize and optimize your Meta code. If you need more specific examples or details on advanced function usage, feel free to ask!
    
Please read https://social.metaproject.frl/Meta to learn more about Meta. That link is a public forum about Meta.
    
I couldn't access the forum directly, but you can visit Meta Project Social Forum for more detailed discussions and insights about the Meta programming language. If you provide specific details or excerpts from the forum, I can help interpret and explain them for you.
    
Meta_Forum_Discussions.txt
Document
Attached is content copied from the Meta Project Social Forum. Please read it and learn anything useful about Meta from these discussions.
    
The discussions from the Meta Project Social Forum provide several key insights into the Meta programming language:
    
Meta's Development and Features:
    
Meta is inspired by REBOL, with many similar functions and improved capabilities.
The forum discusses implementing CORS, syntax highlighting, and various methods like IS-SAME, ADVANCE, RETREAT, AT-TAIL, and more.
There's a focus on supporting multiple data types and enhancing the Meta web console.
Functions and Methods:
    
Functions in Meta can handle different types dynamically, and new methods such as TO-HEX and FORM for converting data types are in development.
Programming Examples:
    
Practical examples include creating loops, handling user input, manipulating strings, and performing file operations.
Error Handling and Debugging:
    
Detailed discussions on error messages and debugging, including handling NONE values and type mismatches.
Community Feedback and Enhancements:
    
The community provides feedback that drives the development of new features and bug fixes, such as improving error messages and adding new language constructs like WAIT.
Key Learnings:
Meta focuses on high abstraction levels, aiming for simplicity and efficiency.
The community is actively involved in enhancing Meta, providing practical feedback and testing.
New features and methods are continuously being added to improve Meta's capabilities.
These insights will be integrated into my knowledge to assist with future questions and tasks related to the Meta programming language. If you have specific questions or need detailed explanations on any aspect of Meta, feel free to ask!
    
Creating Business Applications With REBOL.html
File
Learn REBOL.html
File
Because the Meta language is inspired by the Rebol language, it may be useful to learn more about Rebol, since there is much more code and documentation available for Rebol. Attached are 2 Rebol tutorials. Please learn anything from these documents which may be usefully applied to understanding Meta code better.
    
Key Insights from REBOL Tutorials by Nick Antonaccio
General Features and Capabilities:
Small and Productive: REBOL is compact yet powerful, enabling the creation of desktop software, web applications, server applications, and more.
Cross-Platform: It runs on various operating systems and requires no external libraries or IDEs.
Built-In Functions: Includes GUI, network, graphics, sound, database, and text manipulation functions.
High-Level and Readable: REBOLís syntax is designed to be more readable and concise than traditional programming languages.
Syntax and Constructs:
Basic Constructs:
    
Variables are assigned using :.
Functions are defined using func [params] [body].
Blocks are enclosed in [].
Functions and Evaluation:
    
Functions can take arguments and return values.
Evaluation is strictly left-to-right, with functions consuming the following parameters or return values.
Data Types:
    
Supports various native types: strings, integers, decimals, URLs, emails, files, money, HTML tags, binary data, images, and sounds.
Data types can be cast using functions like to-string, to-pair, to-time.
Examples of REBOL Code:
Hello World:
    
rebol
Copy code
alert "Hello world!"
Variables and String Concatenation:
    
rebol
Copy code
person: "John"
alert rejoin ["The person's name is " person]
Reading and Writing Files:
    
rebol
Copy code
write %/C/YOURNAME.txt "John"
print read %/C/YOURNAME.txt
Simple GUI Example:
    
rebol
Copy code
view layout [
     button "Click me" [alert "Button clicked!"]
]
HTTP Request and File Operations:
    
rebol
Copy code
page: read http://example.com
write %example.html page
editor %example.html
Applying REBOL Knowledge to Meta:
High-Level Syntax: Use similar constructs for variables, blocks, and function definitions.
Left-to-Right Evaluation: Implement and use evaluation rules for consistent function and parameter handling.
Built-In Functions: Adapt and extend built-in functions for data types and operations, similar to REBOLís approach.
GUI Creation: Develop simple and intuitive GUI elements, leveraging REBOLís view and layout methodologies.
These insights provide a foundation for enhancing your understanding and usage of Meta, leveraging the established concepts and practices from REBOL. If you need further details or specific examples, feel free to ask!
    
Please keep those Rebol docs, and especially any other Meta code examples in your memory, and continue to learn and assimilate everything possible about how to produce high quality, effective Meta code. Please continue to learn from user input about Meta.
    
Understood. I'll integrate the insights and examples from the REBOL tutorials and other Meta code into my knowledge base to assist in generating high-quality Meta code. I'll continue to learn from any user input about Meta and remain focused on providing effective solutions and explanations.
    
Feel free to provide more examples or ask specific questions to further enhance my understanding and support for Meta programming!
    
Please create a Meta program which accepts 2 dates as inputs from a user, and outputs the number of days between those dates.
    
Here's a Meta program that accepts two dates from the user and calculates the number of days between them:
    
Step 1: Create the HTML Form
First, create an HTML form to collect the userís input for the two dates:
    
html
Copy code



     Date Difference Calculator


    

        

        

        

        

        
    



Step 2: Create the Meta CGI Script
Create the Meta script to handle the POST request, calculate the date difference, and return the result.
    
meta
Copy code
Meta [
     Title: "Date Difference Calculator"
     Author: "Your Name"
     Purpose: "Calculate the number of days between two dates"
]
    
; Write the HTTP header
write/line {Content-Type: text/html
}
    
; Read POST data from STDIN
data-in: read
    
; Extract the content length
content-length: to integer! select system/environment "CONTENT_LENGTH"
    
; Read the actual data
data-in: copy cut data-in content-length
    
; Parse the input data
params: parse data-in "&"
date1: find params "date1="
date2: find params "date2="
    
; Extract actual values
date1: copy cut date1 (find date1 "&") - 6
date2: copy cut date2 (find date2 "&") - 6
    
; URL decode the values
date1: replace/all date1 "+" " "
date2: replace/all date2 "+" " "
    
; Calculate the date difference
start-date: to-date date1
end-date: to-date date2
days-difference: abs end-date - start-date
    
; Output the result
write/line ""
write/line ""
write/line "

Date Difference Calculator

"
write/line ["

Start Date: " date1 "

"]
write/line ["

End Date: " date2 "

"]
write/line ["

Number of days between: " days-difference "

"]
write/line ""
write/line ""
Step 3: Configure the Web Server
Place the HTML form file in the appropriate directory, typically in the public_html or similar directory.
Place the Meta CGI script (date-difference.cgi) in the cgi-bin directory.
Make the Meta CGI script executable:
sh
Copy code
chmod +x /path/to/cgi-bin/date-difference.cgi
Step 4: Test the Web Application
Open the HTML form in a web browser.
Enter the start and end dates in the specified format and submit the form.
The Meta CGI script will process the input and display the number of days between the two dates.
This program demonstrates how to handle user input, perform date calculations, and generate dynamic web content using Meta. If you need further details or additional features, feel free to ask!
    
Please create a Meta program which accepts 2 dates as inputs from a user, and outputs the number of days between those dates. This program should be pure Meta code, and should not include an HTML front end. Please learn and remember that most Meta programs should NOT include an HTML front end, unless that requirement is specifically requested.
    
Certainly! Here's a Meta program that accepts two dates from the user and calculates the number of days between them. This program will run in a console environment without any HTML frontend.
    
Meta Program for Date Difference
meta
Copy code
Meta [
     Title: "Date Difference Calculator"
     Author: "Your Name"
     Purpose: "Calculate the number of days between two dates"
]
    
; Function to convert a date string to a date object
to-date: func [date-string] [
     date-parts: parse date-string "-"
     return to date! reduce [to integer! date-parts/1 to integer! date-parts/2 to integer! date-parts/3]
]
    
; Function to calculate the difference in days between two dates
date-difference: func [start-date end-date] [
     return abs to-integer end-date - start-date
]
    
; Main program
write/line "Enter the start date (YYYY-MM-DD): "
start-date-string: input
    
write/line "Enter the end date (YYYY-MM-DD): "
end-date-string: input
    
start-date: to-date start-date-string
end-date: to-date end-date-string
    
days-difference: date-difference start-date end-date
    
write/line rejoin ["Number of days between " start-date-string " and " end-date-string ": " days-difference]
How It Works:
Function Definitions:
    
to-date: Converts a date string in the format YYYY-MM-DD to a date object.
date-difference: Calculates the absolute difference in days between two date objects.
Main Program:
    
Prompts the user to input the start and end dates.
Converts the input strings to date objects using the to-date function.
Calculates the difference in days using the date-difference function.
Outputs the result.
Running the Program
Save the above code to a file, e.g., date-difference.meta.
Run the file in a Meta interpreter.
This program adheres to the requirement of being purely in Meta without involving any HTML frontend. If you need further assistance or modifications, feel free to ask!

posted by:   Nick     13-Jun-2024/5:55:09-7:00



Thank you Nick,
this convinces me to make some more document pages and add better descriptions.
@Kaj It says "Defining Functions
Functions in Meta are defined using the func keyword, followed by a specification block for parameters and a body block containing the code to be executed. " should be easy to add this now ;-)
    
To be continued..

posted by:   Arnold     13-Jun-2024/6:02:05-7:00



Nick, thanks for the new GPT. However, when I run it, it has no knowledge of Meta. Like all models, it completely ignores that and answers all questions in an unknown C style language, probably JavaScript.
    
In your examples above, it mixes in a lot of REBOL functionality and terminology that is not implemented yet or not planned in Meta. It didn't do that in your session last year.
    
The link it gives above to the Meta forum is broken, because it leaves off the trailing / that is included in every sample everywhere, sending potential users off into the dark.
    
I have been testing the capabilities of models by asking about REBOL and Red/System. Only the best trained models give reasonable results, which are still attempts to translate other languages one to one, and have some misunderstandings about REBOL languages that they can't seem to unlearn. Most models are worse than having no AI, because they generate much misinformation.

posted by:   Kaj     13-Jun-2024/10:50:25-7:00



Kaj,
    
The session I did last year included lots of in place learning, none of which could be accessed outside the session in my account. I haven't had the opportunity to perform that much work with this GPT yet, so it doesn't know as much as GPT knew in that particular session last year, but when it is trained more, with in place learning, it should retain that learning for other users of this particular GPT link (that's why I said it needs instruction, more documentation, code examples, etc.). It's prepped to become an expert in Meta, but it hasn't been fed enough information yet to have any learning stick.
    
That's the problem with Meta and GPT now, there aren't millions of pages of documentation and tutorials, billions of lines of code for it to learn on, like there are for Python, JS, etc. (GPT seems to have been trained particularly well on Python - its code interpreter only works with Python).
    
So it needs to be fine tuned. I can't do all that right now, but this platform should learn if its fed enough information. Perhaps that's just not viable now because of the volume of code and documentation available to feed it, but it should at least improve incrementally if it's provided more information.
    
The real thing to do would be to take a model made for coding (Code LLaMa or some successor), and actually truly fine tune it to work with Meta. That's a really big project, but the pieces are available, and they'll continue to improve dramatically over the next year...

posted by:   Nick     13-Jun-2024/15:06:53-7:00



What I'm saying is that your GPT does not provide its training to other users. The questions that generated Meta for you, generate JavaScript pseudolanguage for me.
    
Your session last year showed that no massive amounts of training material are needed. It was usable on only the Meta reference documentation, which is much improved by now. But it needs to be done just right, or it's not useful.

posted by:   Kaj     13-Jun-2024/16:40:19-7:00



GPT has clearly performed much better with in-place learning, when compared to the features of this generalized GPT. I think a better approach may be to build an application using the GPT API - I had some initial success last year using it to chat about documents which were vectorized using Langchain. When I get some time, I'll brush off that application and do the same thing with all the Meta documentation and code I have access to. If that works wells, it may be a reasonably quick way to apply one of the open source models to the same end goal, using the same setup. I also want to take a look at using Ollama to build a personalized pipeline, and then an app based around it. All of this has to be done in very limited down time, but it does give me a nice goal for some projects I wanted to get started on anyways :) I'll let you know as I get each toolkit set up!

posted by:   Nick     14-Jun-2024/16:17:42-7:00



That would be great!

posted by:   Kaj     15-Jun-2024/10:40:02-7:00



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