Qalb (programming language)

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قلب "Qlb"
Paradigm functional
Designed by Ramsey Nasser
First appeared 2012
Influenced by

قلب (Levantine Arabic: [ʔalb]), transliterated Qalb, Qlb and Alb, is a functional programming language allowing a programmer to write programs completely in Arabic.[1] Its name means heart and is a recursive acronym in Arabic meaning Qlb: a programming language (قلب: لغة برمجة, Qlb: Lughat Barmijah). It was developed in 2012 by Ramsey Nasser, a computer scientist at the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in New York City, as both an artistic endeavor and as a response to the Anglophone bias in the vast majority of programming languages, which express their fundamental concepts using English words.

The syntax is like that of Lisp or Scheme, consisting of parenthesized lists. The language provides a minimal set of primitives for defining functions, conditionals, looping, list manipulation, and basic arithmetic expressions. These have proven powerful enough to implement the Fibonacci sequence as well as Conway's Game of Life in the language. All keywords are appropriate Arabic terms, and program text is laid out right-to-left, like all Arabic text.

Because all program text is written in Arabic, and the connecting strokes between characters in the Arabic script can be extended to any length, it is possible to lay out the source code in artistic patterns, in the tradition of Arabic calligraphy.[2]

The project is currently hosted on herokuapp[3] and can be forked on GitHub.[4]


Additional reading[edit]