Two Guys Arguing

Challenge – QuickPiet Interpreter

Posted in challenge by benjaminplee on 03.14.10

Create an interpreter for a new Language based on Piet: QuickPiet

To pair off of Nate’s Rock Paper Scissors challenge, here is one I am offering up to him: create an interpreter which will execute QuickPiet commands.  What is QuickPiet?  QuickPiet is a very basic language based off of the commands found in the esoteric Piet programming language.

Piet_hello_big from

Big Piet Hello World (25 pixels / codel)

Piet programmers are written as images which can be interpreted as actions based on a stack.  Recently I signed up to give a talk at the April Fool’s Day meeting of the Lambda Lounge where several people will be giving short talks on esoteric and useless programming languages.  Programming in Piet poses several challenges including working only with a single stack and building up your logic into pixels and colors.  I should have a few posts on writing programs in Piet in the next week or so. Until then, I have been mainly struggling with how to accomplish real work with just a single stack and a very limited menu of commands to choose from.  QuickPiet is an attempt to make that process easier.

The challenge:

  • Write an interpreter for the QuickPiet language I have posted in a new GitHub Gist;
    [Edit: The language spec is now in the base QuickPiet repo on GitHub]
  • The interpreter should allow the user to enter in QuickPiet commands from a file or GUI text box
  • The interpreter should allow the user to enter text to be handled by STDIN and should display to the user any characters sent to STDOUT
  • Ideally the interpreter would be written in a cross-platform way (e.g. JVM, Ruby, Javascript/HTML) but anything is valid
  • Extra points for GUIs and/or the ability to see how the stack changes through program execution and/or at the end

The “complete” spec can be found on the Gist page, but a very quick rundown is below:

  • Program execution is top down, except for GOTO commands
  • Each line can be blank (ignored), a label, a comment, or a command
  • Only one command per line
  • There are no explicit looping or other control structures
  • The interpreter maintains a single “infinitely large” stack which different commands can act on
  • Example commands include (IN, OUT, PUSH, POP, ADD, SUBTRACT, GOTO, etc)
  • Commands are case-insensitive, labels are not

If you have any questions or are willing to venture a solution please leave a comment.  I just had this idea this morning so I am very interested in any feedback you may have.  I am planning on working on my own solution and hope to have something put together today or tomorrow.

Click the tag links for QuickPiet and Piet below to see all posts

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