Matthias Zenger


While studying, I spent a lot of time writing free software. This page provides pointers to a selection of applications I wrote. Some software requires a legacy Mac OS operating system to run, others can be executed using an arbitrary Java environment. Probably none of the software is interesting anymore these days.

I recently started tinkering with software components for the Go programming language. This work is included in the list below as well.
Go Container Kit
Container Kit aims at providing a comprehensive container class library for the Go programming language which allows programmers to make use of a broad range of container abstractions in a consistent fashion. The library design focuses on the following properties:

  1. Simplicity: The library is built on top of a small number of core concepts, to keep the learning curve for users as flat as possible.
  2. Consistency: The concepts are reused uniformly across the various container abstractions. This includes consistent usage of names, types, and method signatures.
  3. Expressiveness: Rich abstractions allow users to express processing logic in a concise, declarative fashion. The simplicity and consistency properties are important because they guarantee ease of use. Expressiveness is important because it promotes concise, readable client logic.
The implementation of Container Kit is quite unconventional in the sense that it is based on a number of design patterns, introducing features from class-based object-oriented languages. This approach allows for composing Go containers out of small reusable building blocks. Ultimately, it is this methodology which guarantees the consistency and expressiveness of the properties explained above.
Keris is an extension of the programming language Java which focuses on the development of extensible sofware. Keris introduces extensible modules as the basic building blocks of software. Software developed with Keris is closed in the sense that it can be executed, but it is open for future extensions. Such extensions are non-destructive: they do not require source code modifications and existing binaries persist. Keris was developed as a part of my PhD thesis between 2001 and 2004.
Jaco is an extensible Java compiler. This software was part of my master's thesis at the University of Karlsruhe. Jaco is written in an extension of itself: Java + extensible algebraic types. It runs on all platforms for which a Java virtual machine is available. Jaco was written in 1997. Later on, Jaco has been used in a couple of projects at EPFL and the School of Computer and Information Science of the University of South Australia.
Funnel is a programming language that is conceptually based on functional nets. The Funnel compiler maps Funnel programs to an intermediate language which is then interpreted by a virtual machine. Funnel programs can access the full Java API through a rudimentary Java interface. This implementation is an experimental prototype.
JavaParty is an extension of Java with features that facilitate the development of distributed applications. It provides:
  1. Transparent Remote Objects: Although RMI seems to offer this, you really have to re-work your multi-threaded Java programs significantly before you can exploit the combined computing power of all your workstations with RMI. JavaParty programs are just a tiny step away from regular Java.
  2. Object Mobility: JavaParty objects are free to move from one node of the network to another. Object migration results in locality of access and therefore may hide network latency.
JavaParty compiles programs to ordinary Java bytecode, and interfaces with existing Java code, retaining the broad compatibility to Java. I was the original developer of this software, starting in 1995. From 1999 on, it was maintained by staff of the Institute for Program Structures and Data Organization of the University of Karlsruhe, Germany.
Initially, MacBPM was intended to be a simple BPM (beats per minute) counter. I wrote it in 1989 in order to count the beats of my dance music CDs. From time to time, I added a database module for cataloging music tracks and a playlist compilation utility. MacBPM was mainly useful for DJs. Indeed, in the early 90ies, there have been a lot of users since there was no other comparable Mac program available. This is a Mac OS 9 application and given all digital DJing tools today, there is no need to port this to any modern operating system.
Pizzeria is a small integrated development environment for the Pizza programming language. Pizza is a superset of Java that incorporates three additional features: parametric polymorphism, first-class functions and algebraic data types with support for pattern matching. Pizzeria was the only free native Java IDE on Mac OS 9 for a long time (middle of the 90ies).
LiLa is a Lisp programming environment for Mac OS 9 with a built-in interpreter and compiler. I started working on this more than 20 years ago. The Mac OS version is actually a port of my former Amiga Lisp interpreter. I wrote LiLa in order to get experience with the implementation of functional programming languages. LiLa is completely written in Modula-2. This allowed me to include a lot of multi-purpose modules I wrote during my Amiga times (including long integers, complex numbers, a garbage collector, etc.). Although the system is not really fast, it was my Lisp interpreter of choice for a long time. This software has been linked from my homepage since 1993.