Factor: an extensible interactive language





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Published on Oct 28, 2008

Google Tech Talks
October 27, 2008


Factor is a general-purpose programming language which has been in development for a little over five years and is influenced by Forth, Lisp, and Smalltalk. Factor takes the best ideas from Forth -- simplicity, succinct code, emphasis on interactive testing, meta-programming -- and brings modern high-level language features such as garbage collection, object orientation, and functional programming familiar to users of languages such as Python and JavaScript. Recognizing that no programming language is an island, Factor is portable, ships with a full-featured standard library, deploys stand-alone binaries, and interoperates with C and Objective-C.

In this talk, I will give the rationale for Factor's creation, present an overview of the language, and show how Factor can be used to solve real-world problems with a minimum of fuss. At the same time, I will emphasize Factor's extensible syntax, meta-programming and reflection capabilities, and show that these features, which are unheard of in the world of mainstream programming languages, make programs easier to write, more robust, and fun.

Speaker: Slava Pestov
Slava was born in the former USSR and emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 7. He moved to Ottawa, Canada when he was 18 to study for a Bachelors and Masters degree in Mathematics. He now resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. An early adopter of Java, Slava wrote the popular jEdit text editor, then went on to design and implement the Factor programming language. At his day job he hacks on web apps, optimizing compilers, garbage collectors, and everything in between.


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