In a previous blog post, I started to play with org-babel-clojure to improve its capabilities such that Clojure gets better integrated into Org-mode for creating notebooks and Literate programs. The first thing I wanted to do is to remove the 20 seconds timeout that was defaulted with the
nrepl. That meant that it was not possible to run procedures for longer than 20 seconds before it died with a timeout. Once this was implemented, the next step was to add a new feature to see the underlying process of a code block. Because the nature of my work (extensive work with big datasets), my procedures take time to run (minutesâ€¦ hoursâ€¦) and much information [about the process] is output to the terminal. However, in the
org-babel-clojure implementation, you had to wait until the code was executed before being able to see the processing. What I did at the time is to add a new
:async code block parameter which told
org-babel-clojure to output all the output of the
nrepl, when it was being processed, in a new window.
That worked like a charm. However, after much interaction with Nicolas Goaziou, one of the core maintainers of Org-mode, it was clear that my implementation was not an asynchronous implementation but really just a live processing output.
At the same time, I did find another major irritant: if an exception was raised in my Clojure code, then nothing was output to Org-mode, it was simply silently dying. The only way to see the exception was to switch to the Clojure major mode (using
C-c ') and to rerun the code block.
Continue reading “Improving org-babel-clojure”
I recently wrote a post about how I was using Literate Programming principles in Org-mode to write the unit tests of my applications side-by-side with the code it tests. I got some good feedbacks about the post, however one that particularly caught my eye is a blog post on the Irreal blog which states:
One possible problem with this procedure is if you’re working in a team and not everyone is an Emacs user. Non Emacs users won’t be keen to tangle an Org document to get the code and probably won’t feel comfortable making changes to an Org file. Unless everyone you’re working with is an Emacs user or you’re working alone, this means that Giasson’s workflow will have to be limited to initial development. Still, it’s a powerful technique and well worth experimenting with.
It is not the first time I have read such observation about Literate Programming (and Org-mode & Emacs). This is certainly a right and legitimate concern. Literate Programming is a set of concepts and principles with two actions at its core: weaving (generating human readable version of the application) and tangling (generating the computer code of the application) [a literate document]. The literate document has to comply with some syntax to determine what needs to be weaved and what needs to be tangled. This syntax needs to be implemented in a development environment to be usable. It could be fully integrate (like with Org-mode) or part of a development workflow (like CWEB). It is for this reason that there may be a possible problem: because the way to write a software application is inherently different than how we learned to program and it requires some specific development environments or workflows. This is fine if there is only one developer on the application or only a few that already use the same environment.
Continue reading “Literate Programming and Team Development”
Developing a computer program is not an easy task. The process needs a constant focus. Any interruption of that process means that time is spent re-focusing on it and errors are more prone to be introduced. The process involves analyzing a problem to solve by executing a series of steps. It involves writing about the problem we are trying to solve and writing about the solution we found to solve it. Finally it involves writing test procedures that can run to make sure that the current state of the implementation of the solution behaves as expected and that expected behavior is not altered by subsequent modifications.
Continue reading “Creating and Running Unit Tests Directly in Source Files with Org-mode”