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Claire (programming language)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Paradigmmulti-paradigm: functional, object-oriented (class-based), rule processing, reflective
Designed byYves Caseau
First appeared1994 (1994)
Stable release
3.3.46 / February 17, 2009; 15 years ago (2009-02-17)
Typing disciplinestrong, both static and dynamic
LicensePermissive free software licence
Filename extensions.cl
Major implementations
Claire (reference implementation), WebClaire
Influenced by
Smalltalk, SETL, OPS5, Lisp, ML, C, LORE, LAURE

Claire is a high-level functional and object-oriented programming language with rule processing abilities. It was designed by Yves Caseau at Bouygues' e-Lab research laboratory, and received its final definition in 2004.

Claire provides:

Claire's reference implementation, consisting of an interpreter and compiler, was fully open-sourced with the release of version 3.3.46 in February 2009. Another implementation, WebClaire, is commercially supported.

Claire has, since 2022, a new reference version, CLAIRE4, which is written on top of the Go programming language. It has a new website with documentations and examples, together with a Github open source repository.



Claire is a general-purpose programming language, best suited to application software requiring sophisticated data modeling, rule processing or problem solving. WebClaire adds extensions for fuller integration with the operating system and for programming web applications.

Though Claire can be used for complete projects, it is designed to integrate smoothly with C++, Java or Go.

The key set of features that distinguishes Claire from other programming languages has been dictated by experience in solving complex optimization problems. Two features not found in other mixed functional/object-oriented languages, such as OCaml, Scala and F#, are versioning and production rules.

Versions can be viewed as a stack of snapshots of some part of the system, which can be made as large (for expressiveness) or small (for efficiency) as necessary. Creation and roll-back of versions permit backtracking, as found in logic programming, though Claire's backtracking may cover any user-defined structure rather than just a set of logic variables.

A production rule in Claire is composed of an event, a condition and a response to be evaluated if the condition is satisfied. An event may be any change in an object's slot or the instantiation of a class, and a response may itself set off further events. Such production rules are especially useful in describing reactive algorithms, such as those for constraint propagation.

Claire was created as a successor to LAURE, an expressive but complex language designed by Caseau in the 1980s that combined many paradigms. Claire was intended to be both easier to learn than its predecessor and to impose no performance overhead relative to C++; it is thus a much smaller language, omitting features such as constraints and deductive rules, and is closer to C in spirit and syntax. Its main users in industry have been the Bouygues and Thales groups. The new CLAIRE 4 release bring both a new level of reliability - borrowing of Go's strength as the underlying language, and improved performance both for the compiler and interpreter.



A function to compute the nth Fibonacci number:

fib(n:integer) : integer
-> (if (n < 2) 1
else fib(n - 1) + fib(n - 2))