Natural Language Programming

Programming games is an activity. A programming language is a kind of thing. Inform 7 is a kind of programming language. It is either the single-most important advance in interactive fiction in a decade, or an interesting idea doomed to fail.

– Liza Daly, Inside Inform 7

The above is source code. It is a dsl, kind of, but it’s a particular kind of dsl that is trying to look and feel like natural language. It is completely readable by a non-programmer, and I dare say it’s writeable by one too. It is Inform 7 , one of the coolest things I have seen in a while. (see Beyond Domain Specific Languages )

Put this together with the simple little DSLs that google is doing or the internal natural language-ish DSLs that my colleague Jay Fields has been working on in ruby, and I think we are beginning to see people approach programming in a new way.

This is definitely stuff that we’ll talk about in our upcoming DSLs in Ruby book. But more importantly, it might be stuff that I use on my next project!
Above and beyond the language, there is also a sweet IDE for Inform 7. We’ll be looking at what we can learn from it here at Intentional. You should too.

It has a simple UI, is targeted toward non programmers, and is very polished and well thought out. Good stuff.


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