# Atlas

A tiny embedded scripting language implemented in Scala.

Copyright 2018 Dave Gurnell. Licensed Apache 2.

## Why?

Atlas is a super-simple scripting language created for use in Cartographer to allow us to define fragments of logic over user-defined data types. It has the following features:

- simple, concise, expression-oriented syntax;
- Scheme-like functional semantics;
- parser and interpreter written in Scala;
- serializable in compiled and uncompiled forms;
- support for "native functions" written in Scala.

Atlas is currently a work-in-progress.

## Show me some examples!

Factorials are the "hello world" of scripting languages, right?

```
let factorial = n ->
if n <= 1
then 1
else n * factorial(n - 1)
factorial(10)
```

Function bodies are lazily bound allowing `letrec`

-style recursive references:

```
let even = n ->
if n == 0 then true else odd(n - 1)
let odd = n ->
if n == 0 then false else even(n - 1)
even(10)
```

## Quick language reference

Basic literals are Javascript-like:

```
'foo' # single-quoted string
"foo" # double-quoted string
1 # integer
1.2 # double
true # boolean
null # null
[a, b] # array
{a:1, b:2} # object
```

There are a fixed set of built-in prefix and infix operators. In order of decreasing precedence these are:

```
!a # boolean not
-a # negation
+a # erm... non-negation
a*b # multiplication
a/b # floating point division
a+b # addition
a-b # addition
a < b # comparisons
a > b # (integer, double, string, or boolean)
a <= b #
a >= b #
a == b # value equality and
a != b # function reference equality
a && b # boolean and
a || b # boolean or
```

Function literals are written with the `->`

symbol. Parentheses are optional if there is only one argument:

```
(a, b) -> a + b
n -> n + 1
```

In addition to literals, variable references, and infix and prefix operators, there are several types of expression.

Function applications look like Javascript:

`max(1, 2)`

as do field references:

`foo.bar.baz`

Conditionals are introduced with the `if`

, `then`

, and `else`

keywords. The `else`

clause is mandatory. The result is the value of the expression in the relevant arm:

`if expr then expr else expr`

Blocks introduce scopes and allow the definition of intermediate variables. The result is the value of the final expression:

```
do
stmt
stmt
expr
end
```

Statements are expressions (evaluated for their side-effects) or declarations, introduced with the `let`

keyword:

```
let add = (a, b) -> a + b
let ten = add(3, 7)
```

Function bodies can refer to earlier or later bindings in the block where they are defined, allowing mutually recursive definitions:

```
let even = n ->
if n == 0 then true else odd(n - 1)
let odd = n ->
if n == 0 then false else even(n - 1)
even(10)
```

Comments are written with the `#`

symbol and run to the end of the line:

```
# Calculate a factorial:
let fact = n ->
if n == 1
then 1
else n * fact(n - 1)
```

Complete programs have the same semantics as blocks but are written without the `do`

and `end`

keywords. If the program ends with a statement, an implicit `null`

expression is added to the end:

```
let fib = n ->
if n <= 2
then 1
else fib(n - 1) + fib(n - 2)
fib(10)
```

## Interaction with Scala

There are two string interpolators for defining code fragments: `expr`

for expressions and `prog`

for complete programs:

```
import atlas._
import atlas.syntax._
val anExpression: Expr =
expr"""
1 + 2 + 3
"""
val aProgram: Expr =
prog"""
let fib = n ->
if n <= 2
then 1
else fib(n - 1) + fib(n - 2)
fib(10)
"""
```

Syntax errors raised by the macros result in a Scala compilation error.

You can alternatively use the `Parser.expr`

or `Parser.prog`

methods to parse a regular Scala string: Syntax errors using the parser result in an `Either`

:

```
val anotherExpression: Either[Parser.Error, Expr] =
Parser.expr("1 + 2 + 3")
```

Expressions (and, by extension, programs) can be evaluated using the `Eval.apply`

method. Runtime errors are captured in an `Either`

:

```
Eval(anExpression) // => Right(IntValue(6))
Eval(aProgram) // => Right(IntValue(55))
```

You can optionally pass an `Env`

object to `Eval.apply`

specifying an initial environment:

```
val program = prog"a + b"
val env = Env.create
.set("a", 10)
.set("b", 32)
Eval(program, env) // => Right(IntValue(42))
```

Although `Eval`

can internally mutate environments to enable mutually recursive function bodies, any environment you pass to `Eval.apply`

should be returned unharmed.

You can implement "native functions" in Scala:

```
val program = prog"average(10, 5)"
val env = Env.create
.set("average", native((a: Double, b: Double) => (a + b) / 2))
Eval(program, env) // => Right(DoubleValue(7.5))
```

Conversion between Atlas and Scala values is implemented using a pair of type classes called `ValueEncoder`

and `ValueDecoder`

. These can be used with the `as[A]`

and `asValue`

extension methods from `atlas.syntax`

:

```
123.asValue // => IntValue(123)
IntValue.as[Int] // => Right(123)
```

## Acknowledgements

Thanks to Nic Pereira for naming the project and saving us all from "davescript" :)