Hack Week Day 1

It's hack week at Dropbox, and I'm working on two projects:

  1. GraphBook is a graph-based programmer's notebook.
  2. A LoRa pager / SMS system using Adafruit feathers as a modem of sorts.

I've scheduled the LoRa modem work to start on Wednesday; Monday and Tuesday are entirely dedicated to GraphBook.

I chose to write it in Python because it felt like it would be faster to prototype (Go is notoriously annoying to do exploratory programming in), with Python 3's type annotation support (and MyPy) to quickly build this out.

Right now, this is a directory of yaml files. It's kind of disappointing to have to use yaml, but it's the most human readable/editable format I could think of that supports having metadata and whatnot in the file. Making it human readable and writable lets me punt on the editor part of this right now; it's possible in the future that I'll want to change this up again (I kind of like the idea of just pickling everything into one file, but I also understand how that's not great), like maybe using the file as the contents but using SQLite for metadata. But then, how do I distinguish the separate cells? No, it's intellectually lazy for the purposes of hack week, so I'm punting on the representation problem for now.

I also hacked together a micro Scheme cell last night; it's based on the first version of Peter Norvig's Python Lisp implementation - super fun to follow along with. For code execution VMs, I want each run to execute in a clean env. I think I could extend the updated version of his Scheme, but this worked for a first pass. Again, I'm punting on the hard parts to put the framework in place to build this out.

As it stands now, I have a working Notebook class and about 80% coverage across the board. I'm sure there's weird edge cases. I really just wanted to quickly verify that basic mechanisms work.

Day 1's goal was persistence, and that I have.


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