Sunday, March 05, 2006


Eiffel applications for non-Eiffelists

Bert Verhees suggested, in comp.lang.eiffel, that the Eiffel community was too closed and that we should write "good and useful freeware" for people who don't already program in Eiffel.

It turns out that there have already been quite a few such applications written.

Last century, Loris Bindoni wrote DigiChip, a simulator of a TTL logic circuit "breadboard":

Mike Durian wrote TCL-MIDI, a TCL scripting language extension designed for creating and editing standard MIDI files.

Both of these were created using SmallEiffel, and were distributed as source code. Some users prepared their own binary distributions, and distributed them to those who were not in a position to install the SmallEiffel compiler.

To this day, both of these packages are popular downloads.

There are also some web applications written in Eiffel (although the users may not realise it). I'm thinking here of Andreas Leitner's "Doctor C" (which explains C declarations) and his Kniffel tool (first order predicate logic analyser and charter).

Jim Cochrane's Market Analysis System is used by share traders to chart and analyse stockmarket data. The MAS server is written in ISE Eiffel, and the GUI client is written in Java.

Then there are games. Hubert Cater's "Strategic Command" is a commercial game written in ISE Eiffel based around a WWII Grand Strategy.

A freeware game that has achieved minor cult status is Ken Stauffer's "Hotbabe Chess", a chess game where the computer opposes the player in the form of "hotbabe", an animated character who "loves to play chess and chat about random crap".

So, over the years there have been quite a few applications written in Eiffel that are used by non-Eiffelists.

But I fear the balance is currently tipped the other way. There are several projects to write an Eiffel IDE for the Eclipse platform, using Java. Just imagine if it was the other way around - that Java programmers were using an IDE written using Eiffel!

Another Eiffel powered website is the Injury and Illness Preventer Program Creator which, creator Neal Lester tells me, runs on Matisse and is programmed using ISE Eiffel 5.4 and the Goanna web services library.

Presumably, Neal tested it with his swete tool.
Gexslt has been used by at one non-Eiffel programmer.
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