Getting Started with Braid

This is an example-based introduction to programming with static staging. It describes the static staging compiler, its basic language Braid, and its graphics-centric extended language BraidGL.

Build and Run

To get the compiler running, install Node and npm. Then, on Unix, just type make to install the dependencies and build the project. Or you can run these commands manually:

$ npm install
$ npm run build

Then, you can install the braid command-line program by typing:

$ npm link

To make sure it's working, you can try running an example:

$ braid test/basic/

Command Line

Type braid -h for usage. The most important options are:

  • -c: Use the compiler to JavaScript. Otherwise, the interpreter is used instead. By default, this dumps the compiled JavaScript code to the standard output.
  • -x: When in compiler mode, run the resulting JavaScript code with eval and print the output. Together, -cx should give you the same output as running the interpreter (with no options at all).
  • -w: Use the WebGL language extension. (Only valid in compiler mode.)

There's also -v for debugging output and -g for program generation, as described in the language overview.

Web Dingus

There's also an interactive browser frontend. On Unix, just type make in the dingus directory. This recipe also requires sassc to compile the CSS for the dingus. Then, open index.html in your browser.

The dingus seems to work in current versions of Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge.

The WebGL examples use some assets (meshes, textures, etc.). First, you can download (most of) these assets by going into the dingus/assets directory and typing Make. (See the Makefile for the URLs and instructions for expanding the files.) Then, because asset loading can't work on a file:/// URL, you'll need to run a Web server. For example, you can go into the dingus directory and run python3 -m http.server.

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