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*Programming in 2D text*

This evening I'm thinking of two ideas I've thought about several times before, but never together.

The first: Arjun Nair's github.com/batman-nair/IRCIS, an esoteric language (art for art's sake) that comes with a cool visualizer. Maybe all languages should.

The second is Dave Ackley's movablefeastmachine.org, a tiled processor for very finely grained distributed computation. Programming it is like playing with a cellular automaton.

The two projects have very different goals. IRCIS seems to be just a fun hack. MFM explores ideas for scalable, robust, secure computation.

Today I'm wondering if putting them together might get us a way to gradually learn programming that rivals spreadsheets.

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What if we expand IRCIS from 1x1 to 1x2. The cursor occupies 2 characters, one data and one code. The cursor has modes that operate on data or code, independently. The same path may do different things depending on the mode.

Another mode idea: push characters like sokoban.

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The immediate goal is to do something non-trivial, like say tokenizing a string into words. Or maybe a 4-operation arithmetic evaluator? And, crucially, for the grid to go with the grain of the visual cortex. Amenable to visual inspection, encouraging self-documenting programs.

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