Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Shed Skin 0.0.26

After my 'rant' about not getting much help with Shed Skin, I received a lot of feedback on how to improve packaging and usability in general. Several people even started helping out with this :-) Most notably, Paul helped me to create a Debian package, and James wrote a tutorial, which has by now replaced the README. Thanks guys!!

Shortly after my rant, somehow I also got involved in the Google GHOP project, in which high school students are paid to help out with open source projects. Some of these students turned out to be a real help, and one of them even managed to add complete 're' support to Shed Skin, using PCRE (perl-compatible-regular-expression library, thanks Cyril for the suggestion; this will be available in the next release!).

All of this, in turn, inspired me to add (almost) complete support for os.path and collections.defaultdict (deque was already supported). The combined result of all this should be a much more 'usable' project, although many things can still be improved of course. For the next release, I am planning on splitting up the compiler core (, and adding support for time, datetime, socket and as mentioned re.

When all this works well, I think the time has finally come to have another look at type inference scalability. Two ideas that stand out in my mind are iterative deepening (restart after an increasing number of iterations, each time combining everything that was learned) and selector-based filtering (basically, the idea is that for a method call x.bleh(), obviously x can only be of a type that has a bleh method, though it can be generalized further, e.g. for x=y).

Anyway, getting back to the subject, I have just released Shed Skin 0.0.26. It took me a while to get there, but this is mostly because it has many improvements:

-support for:
-most os.path methods (bootstrapped using Shed Skin)
-many os methods (ghop; many still remaining)
-collections.defaultdict (completing collections)
-getopt.gnu_getopt (bootstrapped, completing getopt)
-5 of the last 7 missing str methods (ghop)

-optimized string addition (a+b+c..)
-improved locale support (ghop)
-removed many leading underscores from generated code
-new documentation/tutorial
-added a Debian package
-many minor bugfixes

Additionally, I moved the project from SourceForge (sorry, guys) to Google code hosting. This is the new address: