Kawa (like other Free Software projects) has no lack of tasks and projects to work on. Here are some ideas.
The Kawa compiler currently uses reflection to determine properties
(such as exported function definitions) from referenced classes.
It would be better to read class files.
This should not be too difficult, since the
abstracts over class information read by reflection or class reading.
Java 7 supports MethodHandles which are meant to provide better performance (ultimately) for dynamic languages. See JSR 292 and the Da Vinci Machine Project. MethodHandles will be used to compile lambdas in Java 8. Kawa can already be compiled to use Methodhandles, but only in one unimportant way. There much more to be done. For example we can start by optimizing arithmetic when the types are unknown at compile-time. They could make implementing generic functions (multimethods) more efficient. At some point we want to compile lambdas in the same way as the experimental Java 8 branch does. This can potenitally be more efficient than Kawa’s current mechanism.
Kawa supports most of the functionality of R6RS and (draft) R7RS.
However, various R6R7 or (more importantly) R7RS features
are missing, and should be added.
For eaxmple, both R6RS or R7RS library definition syntax are unimplemented.
In a related matter, Kawa supports most of the functionality of
syntax-case, but some pieces are missing, and no
doubt some of it is incorrect. Adding the missing pieces
and testing for correctness of corner cases is needed.
Andre van Tonder’s R6RS expander may be helpful.
It would be useful to extend the
import form (and also the
require form when no explicit filename is given) to search a
“source path” for a matching source file, automatically compiling it as
needed (as done in the
require form when an explicit filename is given).
In interactive mode, if the module is already loaded, check if it is updated
- if not recompile and re-load it.
SwitchExp as a new class extending
and compile it using the existing
Use it to optimize Scheme’s
This might be better done without a new
but instead using a special
Procedure with custom
“validation” and code-generation.
(This is a fairly small starter project.)
Kawa has some limited support for parameterized types, but it’s not used much. Improve type inferencing. Support definition of parameterized classes. Better used of parameterized types for sequence class. Support wildcards. (It might be better to have wild-carding be associated with declarations, as in Scala, rather than uses.)
Kawa doesn’t have true function types: Parameter and result types are only handled for “known” functions. Adding first-class function types would be a major task, possibly depending on improvements in Parameterized types.
Add support for full continuations, which is the major feature missing for Kawa to qualify as a “true Scheme”. One way to implement continuations is to add a add that converts the abstract syntax tree to continuation-pass-style, and then exhand the existing full-tail-call support to manage a stack. There are other ways to solve the problem. This may benefit from Faster tailcalls.
--full-tailcalls run faster.
This may depend on (or incorporate)
The TreeList class is a data structure for “flattened” trees. It is used for XML-style nodes, for multiple values, and for the full-tail-call API. The basic concept is fine, but it could do with some re-thinking to make make random-access indexing fast. Also, support for updating is insufficient. (This needs someone into designing and hacking on low-level data-structures, along with lots of profiling and testing.)
R6RS and R7RS specify an exception handling
mechanism using the procedure
This needs to be implemented.
We also need to figure out how and if the R6RS exception handling
model should co-exist with the Java exception handling model;
guard form may co-exist better.
Kawa-generated exception should be caught by
guard, though that may be difficult to achieve.
This message has some suggestions.
C# recently added
for asynchronous programming. Kawa’s recently improved support for lazy programming
seems like a good framework for equivalent functionality:
Instead of an
asynch method that returns a
the Kawa programmer would write a function that returns a
This involves some design work, and modifying the compiler to
rewrite the function body as needed.
Improvements to the read-eval-print console. In addition to a traditional Swing console, it would be useful to support using a web browser as a a remote terminal, possibly using web-sockets. (This allows “printing” HTML-expressions, which can be a useful way to learn and experiment with web technologies.) See here for an article on the existing Swing REPL, along with some to-do items. Being able to hide and show different parts of the output might be nice. Being able to link from error messages to source might be nice. Better handling of redefinitions is discussed here in the context of JavaXF Script; this is a general REPL issue, mostly independent of the GUI for it.
It would be nice to update the XQuery (Qexo) support to XQuery 1.1.
Kawa supports a small subset of the Common Lisp language, but it supports a much larger subset of core Common Lisp concepts and data structure, some designed with Common Lisp functionality in mind. Examples include packages, arrays, expanded function declarations, type specifications, and format. A lot could be done to improve the Common Lisp support with modest effort. Some Common Lisp features could also be useful for Scheme: Documentation strings (or markup) as Java annotations, better MOP-like introspection, and generic methods a la defmethod (i.e. with multiple definition statements, possibly in separate files, as opposed to the current make-procedure) all come to mind. Being able to run some existing Common Lisp code bases with at most modest changes should be the goal. One such package to start with might be a existing test framework, perhaps FivaAM. Full Common Lisp compatibility is nice, but let’s walk before we can run.
A lot of work is needed to make JEmacs useful. One could try to import a useful package and see what works and what fails. Or one may look at basic editing primitives. Enhancements may be needed to core Emacs Lisp language primitives (enhancing Common Lisp support may help), or to the display engine.
There is some Kawa support for Eclipse (Schemeway), and possibly other IDEs (NetBeans, IntelliJ). But many improvements are desirable. REPL improvements may be a component of this.
Kawa-Scheme support for the NetBeans IDE would be useful. One could perhaps build on the Clojure plugin.
Kawa-Scheme support for the Eclipse IDE would be useful. Probably makes sense to enhance SchemeWay. It may also make sense to build on the Dynamic Languages Toolkit, possibly making use of Schemeide, though DLTk seems more oriented towards interpreted non-JVM-based languages.
SLIME is an Emacs mode that provides IDE-like functionality. It supports Kawa.
JDEE is a Java development environment, so might have better hooks to the JVM and Java debugging architecture.
CEDET is a more general framework of development tools.
write should support back-references, as in
This isn’t difficult, but requires understanding and modifying the
existing pretty-printer data structures. One you figured that out,
it would be nice to integrate the pretty-printer with the REPL,
so that window re-sizing re-breaks the output lines.
It would be nice to enhance the pretty-printer to handle
variable-width fonts and other “rich” text.
Figuring out how to make the output formatter more flexible,
more efficient, and more customizable are also desirable.
See this message for a rough design.
Hop is an interesting design for integrating server-side and client-side programming using a Scheme dialect. These ideas seem like they would port quite well to Kawa.
Support localization by extending the SRFI_109 syntax, in the manner of (and compatible with) GNU gettext. I.e. optionally specify a localization key (to use as an index in the translation database); if there is no key specified, default to using the literal parts of the string.
Implement a “bind” mechanism similar to that of JavaFX Script. The idea is when you initialize a variable or field, instead of initializing it to a fixed value, you bind it to an expression depending on other variables. We install “listeners” on those variables, so when those variables change, we update the bound variable. This feature is useful in many application, but the initial focus could be GUI programming and perhaps web programming.