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Copyright ©2001-2010 Cat's Eye Technologies. All rights reserved.

What is Version?

Version is a programming language based on the concept of ignorance-spaces. An ignorance-space is represented by a pattern (irregular expression.) All instructions in a Version program have a tag or label. Instructions with labels which match the current ignorance-space are ignored. Other instructions are executed sequentially. When the last instruction is reached, execution wraps around to the beginning of the program. The only way to halt a program is to put it in a state in which all instructions will be ignored.

Other than this ignorance-space, there are no jumping or conditional execution mechanisms in Version.


Each Version instruction must occur on its own line of source code, and looks like:

label: destination = expression

The label is a string. The destination is the name of a variable, or a special destination name listed below. The expression may be made up of prefix operators, string variables, and special expression terms, listed below.

The result of executing an instruction is that a message containing the expression is sent to the destination. If the destination is a variable, this generally results in the state of the variable changing. This may not however hold true under all conditions - future extensions to Version may add further effects under prescribed conditions.

Special Destinations


    Sending a message to OUTPUT causes the datum in question to appear on the standard output communications channel.


    Sending a message to IGNORE constitutes a request to change from the current ignorance-space to a new one.

  • CAT

    Sending a message to CAT concatenates a value to the last (non-Special) variable assigned (at runtime, not in source code). If there was never a variable assigned, the last variable assigned is considered to be DUANE for some reason.

  • PUT

    Sending a message to PUT concatenates a value to the name of the last variable, and copies the value from the the last variable to the newly named variable. Used to simulate associative arrays.

  • GET

    Like PUT, except it copies the value of the newly named variable into the last variable. Note that the name of the last variable does not actually change while using PUT or GET.

Special Expression Terms


    Accessing the name INPUT causes the standard input communications channel to wait for a line of text and return it (complete with trailing newline.)


    Accessing the name IGNORE allows the program to inquire as to the current ignorance-space.

  • EOL

    The name EOL evaluates to the end-of-line character sequence apropriate for the system.

  • EOF

    The variable EOF is actually a true variable, so its value can be reset if needed. It takes on the value TRUE (a string) should the end of the standard input channel be reached.


  • PRED n

    Returns the predecessor of n, that is the integer that comes before n in the domain of integers, where n is a string containing an integer in decimal notation.

  • SUCC n

    Returns the successor of n, that is the integer that comes after n in the domain of integers, where n is a string containing an integer in decimal notation.

  • CHOP s

    Returns the string s with the last character missing.

  • POP s

    Returns the string s with the first character missing.

  • LEN s

    Returns the length of the string s as a string containing an integer in decimal notation.


The current ignorance-space is accessed through the keyword IGNORE, whether as a destination or as a term in an expression.

The ignorance-space is defined by an irregular expression, which is encoded in a string. An irregular expression is like a regular expression in that it contains special wildcard characters. The wildcard characters resemble those used in MS-DOS.

  • ? - question mark - match any character
  • * - asterisk - match any number of characters
  • | - vertical bar - seperate alternatives

Any characters, except :, are allowed in labels, which are case sensitive. The characters *, ?, and |, if used, cannot be matched literally (use ? to match them, or don't use them - for simplicity, wildcard characters cannot be "quoted".)

So DOG|CAT would match DOG or CAT but not cat or antelope or seahorse. But a*e would match antelope. As would a?t?l?p?.


For reasons that are not well known, the common filename extension for Version source files is _7% (underscore, seven, percent sign).

Each source line which does not even contain a colon is treated as a comment.