Ambient-Oriented programming is a paradigm geared towards mobile computing. Mobile hardware (such as cell phones) is mostly equipped with wireless networking, allowing it to collaborate with nearby devices in its environment. However, because wireless network links are volatile (basically: when devices move out of wireless range, the connection drops), network failures occur much more frequently than in traditional networks. The basic assumption of the Ambient-Oriented Programming paradigm is that languages should incorporate network failures at the heart of their programming model, and not treat them as “exceptions”.
Our own experimental language, AmbientTalk, differs from most traditional languages because:
Check out the introduction to AmbientTalk for a hands-on example showing you the benefits in actual code. Alternatively, glance at the key expressions in the language to get a 60-second overview of the language’s design and intents.
The screencast below shows how to implement a simple echo server for mobile ad hoc networks. It introduces AmbientTalk’s support for peer-to-peer service discovery, asynchronous messages, futures and how remote object references are resilient to network failures by default:
AmbientTalk is not our only research artifact. We have ported the ideas of Ambient-oriented Programming to Scheme, leading to the iScheme language. There is also CRIME, a data-driven programming language which explores the logic programming paradigm to tackle similar coordination issues in mobile ad hoc networks
AmbientTalk’s mirages have inspired the development of proxies in ECMAScript harmony.