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A language in 20 minutes

James Coglan ยท Barcelona Future JS

Sometimes, the answer to an engineering problem is not a new library, or a new platform feature, but a new language. We often gripe about the warts and limitations of HTML, CSS and JavaScript and there are dozens if not hundreds of new languages vying to replace them. But if the future of JavaScript is, well, not JavaScript, how can everyday users shape this future? JavaScript, so the legend goes, was built in 10 days. I'd like go one better and show you how easy it is to get started with language hacking, by building a working Lisp engine from scratch in just 20 minutes. It'll have arithmetic, conditional logic, variables, user-defined functions, recursion and lexical closures: a minimal useful feature set that you can use to understand how languages work and explore your own ideas.