Why I am writing a new programming language

Ian Fisher, 2 September 2021

This summer, I have been working on a new programming language called Venice. Venice is modern, high-level, and statically-typed. It aims to combine the elegance and expressiveness of Python with the static typing and modern language features of Rust. When it is finished, it will look something like this:

import map, join from "itertools"

enum Json {
  JsonObject({string: Json}),
  JsonArray([Json]),
  JsonString(string),
  JsonNumber(real),
  JsonBoolean(bool),
  JsonNull,
}

func serialize_json(j: Json) -> string {
  match j {
    case JsonObject(obj) {
      let it = ("\(key): \(serialize_json(value))" for key, value in obj)
      return "{" ++ join(it, ", ") ++ "}"
    }
    case JsonArray(values) {
      return "[" ++ join(map(values, serialize_json), ", ") ++ "]"
    }
    case JsonString(s) {
      return s.quoted()
    }
    case JsonNumber(x) {
      return string(x)
    }
    case JsonBoolean(x) {
      return string(x)
    }
    case JsonNull {
      return "null"
    }
  }
}

At a minimum, Venice will include:

Why write a new programming language? For the past five years, Python has been my primary programming language, and in that time I have come to both appreciate its strengths and rue its weaknesses. The language is beginning to show its age: dynamic typing is no longer in vogue; algebraic data types, pattern matching, and non-nullable types, formerly confined to academia, are now mainstream; package managers have become ubiquitous; concurrency is no longer a niche feature. Still, no other language has come as close to my ideal as Python has. In Venice, I hope to take what I love about Python—its readability, expressiveness, and elegance—and combine it with what I love about other languages.

Detailed information about Venice is available in the official tutorial and the language reference.1 If you are interested in Venice, please check out the project on GitHub, and feel free to reach out to ian@iafisher.com with any comments, questions, or suggestions about the language. ∎


  1. Although note that since Venice is still in early development, not all of the language features described in those documents are available as of September 2021. 


Disclaimer: I occasionally make corrections and changes to posts after I publish them. You can view the full history of this post on GitHub.