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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

As a part of the redesign of the new Falcon engine, I have cleaned the dependencies of the Falcon interactive mode to readline (GNU/GPL) and editline (BSD). For who doesn't know, these are two libraries that allow history navigation and a bunch of other features at a console prompt, which came pretty handy while trying code snippets and expressions in the interactive mode.

Readline is widely available, embedded in bash and a bunch of other important system tools all over the POSIX world. Editline is a son of a lesser God, but it still does the job fine, and has a more detailed, extensible API. Unluckily, readline has superior support for internationalization, while utf-8 and wchar_t structures have been introduced in editline only recently, and they are supported only through the system-wide setlocale() facility. Finally, editline is hardly portable outside Posix world (but that's a minor problem, as MS-Windows console has now a "reduced" but still useable console line editor burned in).

We'll have to improve the editline support. I think we can find volunteers helping out in this task, and then sending the patches upstream.

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