UPL : “Universal Programming Language“, or you can say UPL : “UPL is Programming Language” :).
It is an idea that we were thinking of for more than a year, and thanks to Yamani it is slowly coming to the reality.
As was discussed in many blogs few weeks ago, we need to find good and intelligent ways to teach our children and “programming children” (those who are not Childs in real but newbie in programming world) about programming.
Thinking about that we can see (as we think) the two biggest obstacles faced by these two groups are:
(1) The complex syntax:
come on how many people you know were able to understand the pointer of pointer of a function that takes a reference and a pointer in C++ from the first time :).
(2) The Language:
by language we do not mean the programming language but the “English” language (even though it is becoming the universal language now, still lots of kids have problems in English learning it. (and come on who said programming must be in “English”).
What UPL can do about that!
Well so what do UPL do exactly?
It is not the direct solution to the problem, but it is one of the keys to the solution. It is a simple engine where you can create your own programming language with your own syntax, and with the human language that you desire.
The current version of UPL support a very simple syntax that is some how look like old quick basic. There is a language file where you can replace any keyword in the (English UPL) to any other keyword in any other language or any other word in English itself , for example the keyword “Declare” could be changed to “dim” to look like visual basic more, or it can be changed to “Aref” the Arabic word the means declare, or even you can write in Arabic writing, French , Japanese, and like that it gives endless choices of creating your own language.
What happens inside the upl Editor is what ever syntax you are using it will be translated to the English up and then again the English upl is translated into JAVA (in the current version the algorithim is updated to change any syntax to Java directly) and finally java file is produced compiled and executed.
the syntax of current English UPL is very simple:
UPL in action(Future)
Well yes it is not in action yet (well it is still alpha, still it don’t have loops,still … , ….,….) but lets talk about future , what UPL can do when it gets into action. So lets see some possible futures for upl:
1- Engine for creating lots of educational programming language syntax in different human language scripts (English , French, japanease, ….).
2- The same engine mentioned before could be use to make programming look more like story writing for kids (I mean after a lot of modifications) a kid will be able to write some kind of story and clicking on run will show him the story happening infront of him ( well we will need to use graphical libraries for doing so).
3- Visual animated programming ( ummm imagine this ) : a kid opens a software he drags an icon of a hummer with declare written on it then he writes “x=12” , next he will drag an icon of wondering rabbit that have if written between it ears and write “x>10”, and continue programming in this way. We can see this drag and drop will create may be html document, and there will be a translation file from that kind of html into the English upl which will be automatically translated to java and run.
JCodeBase [download ]is a personal portable code repository, its simply your personal code bank , where you can save your own codes that are written in any programming language and take it with you to any machine that support java to search within your own codes. The specialty of JCodeBase is that it uses java and derby db (yeah I did code it before java 6 and java DB) so it can work every where. Another specialty is syntax coloring also.
This is one of my very first really usable softwares I have done in collage and just 3 months before now I have put it as open source project on source forge but it had lots of bugs, and there was no explanation on how to use the application.
The bugs I was reported about has been cleared and In this blog I hope I can demonstrate how to use the application.
You can run the application from your flash disk on any computer by running JCodeBase.jar, well if you don’t like to run .jar files and you are on windows you can click on JCodeBase.bat and you will get this screen:
As a first time user there is nothing you can do in this screen other than pressing “Add Code” button.
By pressing this button you will get another screen to add one of your codes that you need to remember.
Here lets add something useful, one of my colleges has a problem dealing with JComboBoxs in java he puts its data source a Vector of strings but he always forget how to update the Jcombobox if the string vector is updated. Well its simple lets add that code.
Now you can see some key words in the code is bold, well it happens depending on what language you are using it support some languages and the syntax colorizing changes from a language to another.
Also not the tags used in this screen (java, combobox, update)
Now lets click on “Add” and close this screen
In the main screen now we can see our tags in the select tags combo box
Well lets say I want to remember a code I have added to the application with a tag java
I just select this tag and click on search , then it will show me the result
For sure it will be usefull if you add all your important codes and when you come back after few months (most probably you have forgetten something ) then this application will come to the rescue. ( and the best thing it is portable , it can be stored easily with in your flash desk with you any where and run on any platform thanks to java and derby).
I really need to know what do you think about this application , is it useful should I continue to work on it, or is it waste of time,
If I should continue working on it what modifications do you really need.