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How Gentee was created

Alexey Krivonogov

The idea of creating my own programming language occurred to me at the end of the 1990's. I was working on installation software at the time, and I realized that I needed a simple scripting language that would make programming easier and more comfortable. I started experimenting by creating simple languages, and by 2002 I felt that my work had yielded some real results. My brother joined me in this work, and we created the test version of the language soon after. It wasn't really the prototype of Gentee, but it gave us an idea of what our future language ought to be like, and in the process we gained invaluable experience.

In 2003 I stopped working on other projects and seriously got down to developing Gentee. Neither my brother nor I could devote all our time to Gentee, so development took more than a year. Our most difficult task was deciding on the syntax and features of the language. We developed Gentee as a procedure-based programming language. We refused to use objects and classes in their usual sense (although it should be mentioned that the language has both type inheritance and polymorphism now). We based the language on C-like syntax because this has stood the test of time, and has achieved an iconic status. We wanted to make a compact and fast compiler. And we wanted to make it possible to use Gentee from other applications via a small DLL file, so we were careful not to overload the language.

We can't say that everything went smoothly. Some problems took us several days to solve. Some of our solutions didn't work, and we had to do some things all over again. We even had to disallow some other features. And so Gentee became the language we wanted it to be - a personal and subjective language for sure!

The first public version of the compiler was published on the Internet on November 1, 2004. This date can be considered the birthday of the language. After that we regularly released versions with new features - we even released a version for Linux. In June 2006 we made Gentee an open source project. Although the compiler had been free from the very beginning, we decided not to publish the source code we had at that time, but instead to rewrite everything from scratch. The language had already become stable by then, but we wanted to complete some things and rewrite some others. It took more than a year for us to rewrite the compiler because of interruptions by other jobs, but we were determined and enthusiastic in our commitment to Gentee. You could say that Gentee was re-born in August / September, 2007.

Now that the source code of the compiler and libraries is open, we look forward with excitement to seeing how Gentee develops and improves through the efforts and expertise of its users.