This talk tells the rather uncommon story of the co-evolution of Darius’s company, Raincode, with a home-grown programming language, YAFL. The two are intimately intertwined: Raincode would crumble if YAFL were to disappear, and YAFL would have no reason to exist if Raincode were to stop its activities.
YAFL is a strongly-typed object-oriented language originally designed and implemented a quarter of a century ago. The story starts with YAFL’s inception, its design, the motivations (including the usual fantasies of world domination) and the technical underpinnings and some key implementation decisions.
The story is rooted in the real world, where pragmatics reign. Darius will argue that their design choices and implementation decisions have converged to give YAFL its true value and that the fruits of growing their own language are well worth the maintenance burden.
The talk will argue that YAFL is a non-DSL and touch on the good ideas as well as the lousy ones. Darius will discuss how to evolve a language over time by judiciously adding, as well as removing, features.
Above all, it is a story about people. The language designer, its implementors, its first users, even its customers are the main characters of this comedy. Their interplay sheds light on how languages are created and maintained.