The MacroScript Programming Language

Steven J. Searle
Web Master, TRON Web

With this month's update, TRON Web has begun to provide programming information to those among the computer literate masses who would like to create something that the TRON Project sorely needs--source code. The MicroScript programming language that will gradually be described in coming updates is a beginner-friendly, easy-to-use scripting language that has some features never before seen in a scripting language. It offers great promise--promise that would probably multiply tenfold if the language's creator, Personal Media Corporation, made it available in English to the programmers of the world. However, from this observer's point of view, MicroScript is not enough to create source code for the TRON dream, which is a world in which all computers and computerized devices are linked together for the benefit and convenience of humans.

So what does the TRON dream require?

In order to realize the TRON dream, we need a new scripting language that will allow programmers--even novice programmers--to create programs at the macro level of the network, not the micro level of an individual personal computer or a computerized device on the network. In other words, since we are now living in an age in which "the network is the computer"--in fact, an age in which hundreds of thousands of personal computers are being linked together via the Internet to crack computer security codes and filter through mountains of radio telescope data in the search for intelligent life in outer space--we need a scripting language that will allow programmers to create network-level scripts. For lack of a better term, I call this currently non-existent language "MacroScript." It could easily be an outgrowth of MicroScript, and it would offer something that competing network architectures do not offer--a means to create short but powerful programs that could call up the computing resources of one or more networks, whether those resources be hardware or software.

Well then, what would MacroScript be like from the user's point of view?

MacroScript would be something like a computer game that multiple players play across telephone lines or the Internet. A group of BTRON hobbyists, for example, would get together, agree on a communication medium, security procedures, and what resources would be shared. They would then remotely link their their personal computers into a virtual local area network, or LAN, and each member of the group would have access to the agreed upon computer resources of the group, including both peripheral equipment and software libraries of programs and data. The result of such a setup would be that any member of the group would then be able to create powerful scripts. These could do trivial things, such as "harvest" unused processing cycles of the personal computers in the LAN for computational intensive tasks, or they could do difficult things, such as periodically accessing a telescope with a charge coupled device, aiming it at a particular object, and taking a picture of it. The possibilities for scripts, of course, would only be limited by the hardware and software accessible via the virtual LAN and the imaginations of the MacroScript programmers.

It is extremely important to note here that a new scripting language such as MacroScript could serve as a tremendously powerful "stimulus" for the TRON Project. Although I have outlined a scenario above that only takes into consideration applications by hobby users, we must never forget that the personal computers we use today came into being as a result of the efforts of hobby users. That's right! If there had been no hobby users in the past, then there would be no personal computers for us ordinary folks to use in the present. Accordingly, MacroScript in the hands of enthusiastic hobby users could become a "catalyst" that could lead to the creation of both TRON Hypernetworks--known in TRON technical parlance as Highly Functional Distributed Systems (HFDSs)--and a new software industry to create the highly unusual programs needed to run those networks. Thus my proposal about MacroScript is all about the creation of a new kind of programming environment that would lead to the empowerment of hobby users. The only question is--will Personal Media take the first step toward this empowerment by creating MacroScript? Let's hope they do.