Cobra takes a bite at open source

The Cobra programming language's author has announced a number of developments, including the news it has been made available via open source
Written by Adrian Bridgwater, Contributor

The Cobra programming language has been made available via open source, according to its author, Charles "Chuck" Esterbrook.

Heavily influenced by Python, Cobra runs on .Net, Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Solaris, and is said to combine productivity enhancements from a variety of languages.

Developed over the past year by Esterbrook, Cobra is now packaged with a Subversion-based version control repository to help track current and historical versions of the source code. This additional function will enable developers to update their code with a single command and submit potential improvements to the community.

With Cobra development now supported by a number of discussion boards, Esterbrook outlined his plans to the Southern California Python Interest Group on 28 February, when he explained that Cobra combines the dynamic binding features of Objective-C and the quick-coding capabilities of Python and Ruby. Cobra itself is an object-orientated, imperative language that features unit tests, contracts, clean syntax and static and dynamic typing.

Esterbrook has listed his primary influences for Cobra as Python, C#, Eiffel and Objective-C. He has also acknowledged Visual Basic, D, Boo and Smalltalk for their contribution to his thought processes when establishing the existing code base.

However, Esterbrook recognises there are weaknesses in Cobra at the moment, such as its lack of maturity and a lack of IDE (integrated development environment) plug-ins.

Cobra is available in beta form under the open-source MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) licence as version 0.7.4. With increased user feedback from the community, the version 1.0 release is planned for later this year.

After completing his short-term plans for a wiki and an issue tracker, Esterbrook said he plans to create a "Visual Cobra" plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio.

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