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Jarno Montonen

06/12/2023, 8:07 AM
What are good web based node-based programming environments for implementing simple arithmetic and boolean logic?
Honestly couldn't find anything better than https://devwulf.github.io/vso/ or https://app.g-script.io/ and run into bugs in both already..
All the node programming solutions are purpose built, and probably for a reason, daaamn these are painful to use..
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Matthew Linkous

06/21/2023, 4:09 PM
@Jarno Montonen a little late but we built (but no longer maintain) something that might work for you: https://flower.aspen.cloud/ You can work with tables and CSV files but can also just work with single number values
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Gabriel Grinberg

06/21/2023, 5:49 PM
@Jarno Montonen one hard (and sad) conclusion I have reached while working on Flyde was that such actions are not suitable for node-based programming. I found that inline scripts (such as simple inline JS) is best for such operations
@Matthew Linkous cool project! where can I read more about it (and the reason you stopped)? PS: I see you were also using BlueprintJS for the UI 😉
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Matthew Linkous

06/21/2023, 5:50 PM
Excel-like formulas are the gold standard for basic arithmetic from our research
We stopped working on Flower bc we realized it lived in this “uncanny valley” between business users who prefer working excel and developers who prefer a real programming lang. Especially because we learned how Excel PowerPivot basically serves the same need for non-technical folks
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Gabriel Grinberg

06/21/2023, 5:54 PM
Thanks for sharing. Sounds somewhat familiar 🙂
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Jarno Montonen

06/21/2023, 6:24 PM
@Matthew Linkous thanks for sharing! I don't think this does boolean algebra though?
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Matthew Linkous

06/21/2023, 6:25 PM
Can you give an example of what you’re imaging? Are you hoping for conditional paths?
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Jarno Montonen

06/21/2023, 6:34 PM
Yeah, like the conditions in these. I wanted to try to implement this job billing calculator in the common no-code paradigms: blocks, nodes and spreadsheets and compare to how my structured natural language does against them.
I must be the most biased person in the world, but the test made me very confident about structured natural language for this kind of stuff. Spreadsheets certainly have their strengths, but Excel formulas are just painful to use. Today I spent the whole day working on a more complex excel thingy and o'boy did I wish I could've just used my editor for writing the formulas.
Well, tbf the example doesn't even have boolean algebra, but conditionals yes
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Matthew Linkous

06/21/2023, 6:48 PM
Basically how’d you do it in Flower. You can use filters to create separate tables or use formulas to create new columns. In this case the formula is
Wage * MIN(80, Hours) + MOD(Hours, 80) * Wage * 1.2
to setup pay. Unlike Excel we actually support column names
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Jarno Montonen

06/21/2023, 6:53 PM
Okay, interesting approach! Don't think I've seen anything like that before. I was just looking for "greater than" node. btw, 80 hours a day would certainly warrant some extra pay 😄
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Matthew Linkous

06/21/2023, 6:54 PM
Gonna burn the midnight oil (and warp time) when working at a startup lol
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Jarno Montonen

06/21/2023, 6:55 PM
and won't need an overtime pay calculator at all..
too bad you couldn't find a product-market-fit for flower. it seems like it could be able to fix the difficulty of tracking what's happening in a more complicated spreadsheet while still benefiting from the strengths of tabular presentations
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Matthew Linkous

06/21/2023, 7:00 PM
Yeah well it’s open-source and we’re executing on something much cooler now so it’s all good
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Daniel Sosebee

06/26/2023, 4:27 PM
I’ve been working with Paul Dancstep on a node-based algebra solving environment, which I’ll probably write about soon, but there’s a demo here: you can drag operators in from the sidebar, wire them together, then reverse dependencies within a construction to ‘solve for’ one of your previously independent variables. And you can visualize and manipulate it all in a complex plane on the right side of the screen https://digital-abacus.vercel.app/
I’d like to write more about this soon, also Paul’s written a bit about the project here: http://digitalabacus.org/DigitalAbacusGames.pdf
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Jarno Montonen

06/26/2023, 6:53 PM
nice, but not quite what I was looking for