Continuations, first blood

You've got some experience under your belt now implementing programming languages. You've done a Lisp-like language with simple syntax but some complicated function action. You've done a turtle graphics imperative language. Basically you are a total rock star.

But there are still many more cool features you want to implement in your languages. To take your game up to the next level we need to cover continuations.

Continuations will let us:

In these exercises we'll start to play around with continuations.

Making things data structures

So far we've been building interpreters like evalScheem that pass around an explicit environment and recursively call themselves as needed. This environment that is getting passed around is an abstraction around the general idea of variable bindings.

By keeping the target language environment as a data structure we keep the way the environment works very explicit. When we evaluate an expression like (+ (f 2) (f 3)) we end up evaluating the same body of f in two different environments. Having the environment as a parameter to the evaluation function makes it clear what is going on and keeps things organized.

Continuations are a way to convert control flow in the evaluation function into an explicit data structure. Just like the environment turned variable bindings into a data structure, continuations turn control flow into a data structure. Once the control flow is encoded in a data structure we can do all kinds of fun things with it.



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