Hugh Winkler holding forth on computing and the Web

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cheney Wheelchair Horror

Best comment so far:

If only he had a small cat to pet as they rolled him to the car. You know something that he could stroke until he snapped its neck to suck the blood from its spine.

(by "Brian")

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Clojure vs JavaFX Script: only 5x slower!

Chris Oliver compares his JavaFX script to JRuby and Groovy and finds JavaFX 25 times faster.

I failed to get JavaFX compiler running on my Ubuntu, but I easily ran Chris's JRuby 1.1.6 test; so for calibration, my laptop comes in at 3:52, vs 4:22 on Chris's machine. Presumably we can scale results on my machine by 1.13.

Here's my Clojure version of the test:

(defn tak [#^Integer x #^Integer y #^Integer z]
(if (>= y x)
(recur (tak (- x 1) y z)
(tak (- y 1) z x)
(tak (- z 1) x y))))

(dotimes [n 1000] (tak 24 16 8))

It runs in about 50 seconds, or 56 after normalizing to Chris' machine speed. This puts Clojure north of JRuby and Groovy, but still 5 times slower than JavaFX.

If you remove the type hints, it runs in 4 minutes, or about the same time as JRuby -- and about 4 or 5 times slower than with type hints.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Clojure uptick

Needing to build a standalone piece of server software as an add on to our Java product, I seized the opportunity to see how far Clojure has come. Getting my dev system set up, and learning the language, I noticed the results Google was returning for my queries were mostly very recent... and lots from just last month.

Could Clojure be approaching critical mass?

I've only written a hundred lines or so of code, but here are some random things I love:

1. Shorthand for maps: {:a 1 :b 3}.
2. sorted-map and hash-map -- thanks for letting me choose. Same shorthand syntax for either.
3. Shorthand to select a value from a map: the map is like a function name (my-map :a).
4. Shorthand for lambdas: #(...code...)
5. Shorthand for generating temporary symbols in macros: my-var#. No need to call (gensym).
4. No looping required -- use recur.
5. Java libraries are easy to use.

I haven't yet fiddled with modifying state.

It's free, it's functional, it's got a hardened standard library, it's got a REPL. You can write a program and deliver it on any platform. What could hold it back?