a programming language for lazy sunday afternoons


Pogoscript is a programming language that emphasises readability, is friendly to domain specific languages and compiles to regular Javascript.


The canonical Node.js hello world:

http = require 'http'

http.createServer @(req, res)
    res.writeHead (200, 'Content-Type': 'text/plain')
    res.end "Hello World\n"
.listen (1337, "")

console.log 'Server running at'

The canonical 99 beers on the wall:

sing (n) bottlesOfBeerOnTheWall =
    if (n > 0)
        console.log ((n) bottlesOfBeerOnTheWall)
        sing (n - 1) bottlesOfBeerOnTheWall

(n) bottlesOfBeerOnTheWall =
    "#((n) bottles) of beer on the wall, #((n) bottles) of beer.\n" +
    "Take one down, pass it around, #((n - 1) bottles) of beer on the wall."

(n) bottles =
    if (n == 0)
        "no bottles"
    else if (n == 1)
        "1 bottle"
        "#(n) bottles"

sing 99 bottlesOfBeerOnTheWall

The Big Features

Arguments and Parameters

Arguments and parameters can be placed anywhere in the name of a function or method call. The careful placement of an argument or a parameter can give it a lot of meaning.

mountains = ['Everest', 'La Tournette', 'Valuga']

for each @(mountain) in (mountains)
    console.log (mountain)

List Comprehensions

A short-hand for map/select:

[x <- [1, 2, 3], y <- [1, 2, 3], x < y, [x, y]]

Asynchronous calls are executed concurrently:

documents = [id <- docIds, http.get "/documents/#(id)"!]


Blocks are just indented code:

after (duration, doSomething) =
    setTimeout (doSomething, duration)

(n) seconds =
    n * 1000

after (10 seconds)
    console.log "hi there!"

Async Calls

Make async operations behave as though they were synchronous with the ! operator.

fs = require 'fs'
mojo = fs.readFile! 'mojo.txt' 'utf-8'
console.log (mojo)

Async calls also play nicely with try catch finally, if else, for, while and friends, and it even works in the REPL. Even though the async operator mimics synchronous behaviour, it is intended to facilitate truly asynchronous code, such as this simple async ls implementation, or more freakily: continuations.

See the rules.


Make concurrent requests with the ? operator:

futureBook = http.get "/books/1"?
futureAuthor = http.get "/authors/1"?

Then wait for the results with the ! operator:

book = futureBook()!
author = futureAuthor()!


The self variable, also known as this in JavaScript, is retained from a block’s outer context:

jack = {
    name = "Jack"
    sayHello () =
        console.log "hi, my name is #(self.name)"
        after (10 seconds)
            console.log "hi! this is #(self.name) again."

jack.sayHello ()

Optional Arguments

Methods and functions can take optional arguments, in the form of a hash passed as the last argument.

webServer (port: 4567) =
    console.log "starting web server on port #(port)"

webServer ()

webServer (port: 3000)

No Built-in Keywords

There are no keywords in Pogoscript. All control structures use the same syntax rules as regular functions and methods, so it’s very easy to write your own control structures:

unless (condition, block) =
    if (!condition)
        block ()

unless (windSpeed > 25)
    console.log "going surfing"

What about a multi-line control structure?

renderEachIn (list, render) ifNone (none) =
    if (list.length > 0)
        content = ''

        for each @(item) in (items)
            content := content + render (item)

        none ()

mountains = ['Everest', 'La Tournette', 'Valuga']

renderEach @(mountain) in (mountains)
    "<li>no mountains...</li>"


Pogoscript requires node.js and npm.

npm install -g pogo

Or to install local to your project:

npm install pogo


Interactive Prompt


Executing a Script

pogo helloWorld.pogo

Debugging a Script

All the regular node debugging invocations work:

To invoke the node debugger:

pogo debug helloWorld.pogo

To allow remote debugging, e.g. with node-inspector:

pogo --debug helloWorld.pogo

If you want to break on the first line:

pogo --debug-brk helloWorld.pogo

You can also put breakpoints in your source code, just put debugger on its own line:

someFunction ()
someOtherFunction ()

Compiling a Script

pogo -c helloWorld.pogo

Will produce helloWorld.js.

Watching and Compiling

pogo -cw *.pogo


grunt-pogo by Lee Crossley for compiling your pogoscripts with Grunt.

gulp-pogo by Derek Ekins for compiling your pogoscripts with Gulp.

pogoify by Josh Chisholm, a plugin for Browserify that compiles your pogoscript files into browserify bundles.


Pogoscript was developed by Tim Macfarlane: github.com/refractalize, @refractalize, blog.refractalize.org.

Tim runs Featurist with Josh Chisholm and Adrian Longley, a small software development consultancy based in London.