Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Eiffel programming language

Anyone have any experience, theories, wild speculation with the Eiffel programming language? Yes this is another request for discussion about obscure programming languages!

Biggest kicker for me is the $4799 price tag for a single copy of the development environment. Other than that everything else seems interesting. I've even heard that it integrates with .NET rather well.

Searching for OO Alternatives
Thursday, April 29, 2004

People actually go out of their way to use languages like Eiffel? I am shocked, what's so special about it? Is this astroturfing or what?

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, April 29, 2004

You could always check out and take it for a test drive. It is free.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Wait, but why even bother?

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, April 29, 2004

If Eiffel were free, or at least reasonably priced, I would be tempted to have a go at using it for something. If you're serious about Design By Contract, having a language that supports is no bad thing, and there are some other neat features too.

But suppose I like it? For the .NET compatible version, I can't afford thousands of dollars (pounds in my case). And there is a free version, but it doesn't play with .NET, so I lose all the CLR libraries and so on. No use to me. So I ignore it, until it gets *a lot* cheaper.

Dave Hallett
Thursday, April 29, 2004

slightly off topic:  Is there an eval version of  For .net the ~$1200 price for the dev environment is a deterent for me to develop .net applications.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

You can get a trial version of Visual Studio .NET here:

And you can buy the standard edition of Visual C#, Visual C++, or Visual Basic.NET for around $100 each at your local software shop.  Any of these is fine for starting .NET development, and you can move up to the fancier stuff later.

Emperor Norton
Thursday, April 29, 2004

You can also get the Academic Version for about $100 or so, if you take a class (and get an ID) from your local community college...

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Also, Blank, if you're more interested in the DotNet languages than Visual Studio itself, you can:

(1) Download the free .Net Framework SDK from Microsoft, which includes a fully-functioning compiler, and

(2) Download SharpDevelop, an open-source, Visual Studio-like IDE for VB.Net and C#.

Then, you can code in VB.Net and C# for free.  (And yes, the .Net Framekwork SDK can be used for commercial applications.)

Robert Jacobson
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Well there is a free for non commercial use version of the development envrionment. Also there are free versions of Eiffel available, but I don't know how well the different versions get along especially in regards to add on libraries the "official" one provides.

Things Effiel claims to have over other alternatives that make it attractive to use are design by contract programming, multiple inhieritance "done right"TM, language support for exceptions and retries (sounds cool), and language support for explicit static initialization which is good for making singletons.  It's also supposed to be desgined with speed in mind in the final compile for production you can fully compile the program (no interpreter), but while developing you can have part of it interpreted for faster changes to code. The syntax is a little werid but its really not that bad to pick up so far.

Browsing through the $4799 one's add on API's it looks like they have a pretty useful things in there like lists and other data structures (including trees), DB access (seems similar to object mapping), and network libraries. Even a cross platform windowing environment.

I agree though that if this language had a free non restricted compiler (that could leave out the IDE) then it might take off a bit more, but that price tag is pretty hefty. While searching about it though I found out that just recently the Navy chose Eiffel for a major project of theirs.

Searching for OO Alternatives
Thursday, April 29, 2004

The various commercial offereings (yes, not just ISE) and the main free offering SmartEiffel can all use a free cross platform library called Gobo.

Eiffel is an extremely well thought out language that has many benefits, not only Design by Contract which is the benefit usually mentioned in these discussions.

I recommend people take a look at it with an open mind.

If nothing else, download the free version of the ISE compiler and give it a serious try.

David B. Wildgoose
Friday, April 30, 2004

One thing I found irritating about Eiffel is its lack of support for function overloading. Seems like a simple thing to implement, yet it's missing... and making the .NET version quite painful to use (argument types must be appended to the method names!).

Chris Nahr
Friday, April 30, 2004


Eiffel was the first language taught at my university degree. It was a great language in that it taught you the 'right way' to do things (as opposed to say starting with VB).

As a crass generalisation, it appeared that those who could program well in Eiffel could program well generally.


Sunday, May 2, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home