As an emacs/org-mode/babel user I have always been fascinated with the potential of literate programming and combining inline code in my notes. I have many org-mode documents that interactively execute code for various tasks and procedures. These tasks includes certain maintenance activities, or destructive operations I don’t want to get wrong. I have an entire org document devoted to db maintenance, filled with Ruby code to execute complicated db queries and operations. It is nice to see the example code inline in my notes, and be able to modify the code and execute it directly in my notes. This works especially well for checklist where calculations or actions are called for. You might even say org-mode was one inspiration for building poggr.com; creating a browser based tool that is simple, flexible, and powerful for creating interactive and compelling documents that work in any web browser.
The potential of browser-based literate programming is why I find the idea of Literate CoffeeScript facinating. It is not just the idea of documenting code or even the idea of describing code in a blog post. It is the idea of creating flexible and effective browser based task and tool documents. The power in these types of documents is you see the code you are executing, which is extremely useful for programmer’s notes. It seems literate CoffeeScript might have something to say about how to create browser-based interactive notes that include inline code, like emacs/org-mode/babel has done for emacs users.
Poggr CoffeeScript Compilation
... <script src="//www.poggr.com/peJo73gk0Nx:dxkfEl2RANx.js"> ...
I can’t see it replacing my emacs/org/babel workflow yet, but it certainly opens some possibilities for having a set of private online notes, experiments, and tools I can call up in any browser to edit and execute. One down-side is while emacs is mode-less in that editing and execution happen together, the browser model is built for view-only. Poggr is built on browser-based document editing, but viewing the rendered results is still a separate action. Although it is not exactly the same emacs/org-mode, there are cases where it is actually better. Emacs does not excel where rich visualization and rendering are beneficial, this is what the browser does best.
When I get a chance I will port a few of my org-mode notes over to literate CoffeeScript documents on poggr and make a note here when they are up.