A Language by Any Other Name

Some programs are configurable, and they expose a so called “configuration” language. These tend to range from key value pairs to full-fledged, Turing- complete, programming languages.

A “programming” language is also a “configuration” language, but only in the abstract. A programming language (somehow, by compiler, or virtual machine, or direct execution of an AST) produces, let’s call it an image1, in memory which evolves the CPU and memory over time while executing.

But, then there’s an interesting realization. A “configuration” language doesn’t configure the CPU and its attached memory in the typical sense. It configures the image. Essentially, a “configuration” language writes specialized programs on the fly, just like a JIT, or a macro-processor in Lisp.

  1. An image is just an executable and associated data residing in memory.

— 2014-02-10