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Conversation with Andrei Alexandrescu: All things D (the language)

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It's always a pleasure to get to spend time with Andrei Alexandrescu and pick his formidable mind. Here, we turn the camera on and have a frank and honest conversation about the current state of the D programming language, including how he and his team are using it at Facebook. Then there's talk about how it's evolving, where it fits in (it's sweet spot) in the modern computing fabric. We also venture into C++ World and talk about long compile times (for C++ this is an issue that stems from it's C roots and templates, but the linker can share some of the blame, too), one of the things the C++ committee will be working on. This conversation is mostly about D, all things D, as it were.

This was recorded during Lang.NEXT 2014, which was a wonderful event full of programming language goodness. Make sure to watch the sessions. Andrei's D session will be live in the coming days.

Huge thanks to Andrei for taking the time to ride tandem with the random on Channel 9.

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  • Good talk.

    I wish Andrei and Walter would be involved in the standardization and evolution effort of C++. (Say with modules, linking models, pre-processors, build systems, gpu/cloud execution models, etc.)

    C++ might be an old and ugly wife, but shes got too many children to leave. Rather than start afresh with a new model. It might be easier to get the old one some makeup and up to date clothes, and she might just be good for another few decades.

    I also notice that Charles native language knowledge has improved a lot since a few years back. The language technical jargon doesn't fly over his head anymore. It makes for much better interviews.

  • @petke79: While not on the committee, Andrei does have connection and communication with some involved. One of the reasons he involved with D is so that he wouldn't have to start fresh. And for an example, template constraints along with static if (both successfully used in D) were rejected for C++11 standardization.

  • Looks like Walter did author the static_if proposal. Thats good. I hope its rejection did not discourage him.

    Seems static_if and "concepts lite" are incompatible features. Here Bjarne makes the case against static_if. His arguments seems convincing. 

    http://www.open-std.org/JTC1/SC22/WG21/docs/papers/2013/n3613.pdf

  • OlivierOlivier

    @petke79: Au contraire, I find D template constraints/static if and concepts lite complementary.
    Concepts lite don't seem to work on value parameters but only on types.

    For example, how to check if a compile-time integer parameter if even using static if:

    template <int N, typename T>
    void func(T arg)
    if (N & 1 == 0)
    {
    }

  • HakimeHakime

    "it initially had deep support from some company that we can never talk about..."

    I don't understand, why the past tense here? Clang is still mainly supported by Apple.

    And what "initially" is supposed to mean here? The Clang front-end was not "supported" by Apple, it was originally and totally created by Apple, by Chris Lattner and his team before being open sourced and merged with the LLVM project. LLVM was created by Chris Lattner before joining Apple and from that point LLVM saw huge contribution and support from Apple as the company became serious to replace gcc. I guess it would be nice not to try to remake the history here and give credits to where it is deserved even if you seem to have a problem dealing with Apple.

    Finally, I really also don't get the childish thing about not being able to name Apple. What's the problem?

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change

    @Hakime: It was just a joke, perhaps too far inside the box.... You'd have to organize cross-platform/cross-industry programming events to understand the quip.

    C

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change

    @petke79: Not sure what flew over my head a few years ago, but thanks for the compliment :)

    C

  • IvanIvan

    Charles if it means something to you I really miss you doing C++ material because quality is going downhill since you left...
    recently I even bothered myself to take a screenshot(cuz my comment was "spam") of my rant about that:
    http://imgur.com/rp21SAq
    but your successors decided that best action is to just remove my comment/image and not to fix tags...

    so I myself went to isocpp.org and suggested an video to be added there... and by miraculous accident only comments on the video are after it was featured on isocpp...

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change

    @Ivan: I've been heads down on new things and sadly haven't had the time to do C9. I miss it, believe me. What a joy it was to be able to make content for C9 for so long. I'll always appreciate Microsoft for supporting C9 over the years and in particular for paying me to do it! As for C++ content, specifically, I'll see if we can't up the game a bit with more conversational pieces and getting STL into the studio again!!!

    Charles

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