[Techtalk] The Internet is my functional programming language

Kelly Jones kelly.terry.jones at gmail.com
Wed Nov 26 14:39:09 UTC 2008

Thanks, Sarah.

You're right in saying it'd all be scrapers on the backend, but I
think the situation now is worse: someone has to write one scraper for
Ruby, another for Perl, another for Python, etc.

Of course, they're all pretty similar and "easy" to port, but an
end-user/programmer has to hope someone's written a scraper for their
language, or write one themselves, which is timeconsuming and
sometimes tricky.

This way, you only write the scraper once (in whatever language you
like!), and a small library for each programming language.

Of course, this only makes sense for data that comes from the web
anyway-- the latency in evaluating sin() this way is ridiculous.

How would you suggest looking at academia? I'm "sure" someone's done
this, I just need to find a starting point? I'd hate to reinvent the

One reason someone might want to evaulate sin() this way: you could
create a wafer-thin programming language (for PDAs/etc) that just
knows wddx and how to make wireless connections, but can still do

We're just a Bunch Of Regular Guys, a collective group that's trying
to understand and assimilate technology. We feel that resistance to
new ideas and technology is unwise and ultimately futile.

On 11/26/08, Sarah Newman <newmans at sonic.net> wrote:
> My gut says to look at academia first.  If nobody has tried to do it,
> have you considered starting a company? ;)
> This could be an excellent, if rather ambitious, open source / community
> project, somewhat comparable to Wikipedia or OpenStreetMap.
> But on the back end you'd still be scraping 100 different protocols, at
> least until it becomes a standard "standard".
> Kelly Jones wrote:
>> Sarah, I think that's what I'm looking for.
>> Instead of having to hack/scrape a 100 different protocols, it'd be
>> nice if someone invented a "function server" that behaved something
>> like this:
>> % telnet functionserver.cornell.edu 81
>> OBJECT functionserver.cornell.edu/Math
>> METHOD sin
>> ACTION call
>> Content-Length: 30
>> <wddx><real>1.42</real><wddx>
>> and get back something like: "<wddx><real>0.98865176285172</real><wddx>"

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