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LassoSoft in Review

01 Mar 2013


I am so frickin' excited about Lasso right now.

It's been a while since I blogged. I'll stop saying that now. But given the restlessness of the world (and the many people trying to repurpose their signs for "the end is near!" by writing in "Lasso" so they read "The End of Lasso is Near"), it's probably time I caught everyone up on all that's been going on.

LassoSoft is not dormant, just quiet to the world. We have been working away diligently—so diligently that our second anniversary passed without us even remembering. I woke up when yet another person wrote asking "if LassoSoft is still alive". The fact that we have not been releasing products every few minutes is not a sign of our death, but rather that we are taking deeper breaths and diving deeper into code than ever before.

We happily survived the tough first few years of getting Lasso back on track, and we are all now enjoying the fruits of Lasso 9. We are finally entering the next true phase of Lasso. Not to overuse my favourite quote of the season, but here it is;

"Now this is not the end.
It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

    - Sir Winston Churchill, Speech in November 1942

I have a comparison story. By complete fluke (sort of), I happened to take a holiday in December, and found myself at the precise location of the Mayan calendar from where the Internet prediction of the end of the world was drawn. In fact, the Mayan calendar showed nothing about the world ending, and the Mayans did not believe that the world would end in the slightest. When asked about the impeding end of the world, the Mayans just rolled their eyes.

Me and my kids at 11:11am, Dec 21st, 2012;

We can stop talking about the end of the world now. It's passé. We can stop talking about the end of Lasso. It's just an irrelevant curiosity. The Rhino lives on. The Rhino is stampeding.

We have more going on than ever before. Our revenue has more than doubled since we "took over" Lasso. This last month represented the highest revenue growth in many years. Although we have changed (and are changing) everything as we go, our story is only getting more remarkable.

As for looking back at the last half of last year—despite the quiet—a lot was accomplished in the Lasso world.

Lasso 8.6.1 and Lasso 9.2.5

As many of you are already aware, we have finalized (or are finalizing) new releases stabilizing versions of both the 8 product line and the 9 product line. There are many tweaks and love in these builds:

Please feel free to download and use at your convenience. We keep striving to make it better!

Lasso Conference 2013 - September 

As already noted, we are having a conference this year in September. This gives us a bit more time to recharge and get more done, as well as shifts the conference time from Spring to Fall. This conference will overlooking Niagara Falls (we signed the agreement this afteroon), which seemed like an excellent centralized location for those individuals travelling from abroad. In addition, the Canadian fall colors should be very pretty, and is something you should see at least once in your life. It will be worth the visit, I promise you.

The initial information is up, and keep checking for more on this imminently - but get it in your calendars ASAP.


One ongoing project which we are working away on (with half a dozen people) is a new documentation project for Lasso 9. This is an ongoing consolidation of chapters from the Lasso 8 documentation, pages from the existing LassoSoft website, and some new material. We have been working on this documentation improvement for months now. We are closing in on being finished, I can taste it now.

However, given that quite a lot has already been added and more will be added over the next few months, it seemed appropriate to let the cat out of the bag early. Here is the new—very drafty—Lasso 9 documentation, for all to peruse.

Note that this is very much a draft, and we are only releasing the base documentation. And, you can be sure we will be changing it radically almost as soon as we put it out (given the likelihood that the Lasso community will pick it to pieces).

However, there is it, in all of its glory. A Beta version, for all to see.

Give us a few more weeks and months to keep cleaning it up, and it will be worth reading, in your technology of preference.

AlternativeTo includes Lasso as a Product

The well-known alternatives site has now included Lasso as a language (currently comparing it to JavaScript and PHP, for some reason). If you get a chance,  please jump on there and give it a vote. I'd love to see us beat out some other comparable language on the site for popularity.

There's a lot of interesting information on that site that is worth exploring.


After some prodding by the Lasso community, oDesk has added Lasso as a skill to their list of freelancer options. There is only one job there at the moment, but I predict there will be many more in the short term. As I have personally spent many thousands of dollars on oDesk on Lasso-related projects in the past (as have many of you, I am sure), this should come as a very welcome surprise. My thanks go out to the various individuals in the Lasso community who worked to make this happen. Thanks!

Eventually, depending on the interest,  we may leverage the oDesk API to post a job board on the LassoSoft site itself. If you are using another website (like Freelancer or Amazon's Mechanical Turk), oDesk is the first to express interest in Lasso as a skill. Ergo, please give them your business.

If you are an active Lasso developer, make sure you add yourself to the oDesk team and add Lasso as a skill. Who knows? Maybe some beer money will come your way.

Lasso added to Pygments

As noted on LassoTalk,  Eric Knibbe has been working feverishly to write a Lasso module for the Pygments syntax highlighter. Some months ago it was added, and as of Pygments 1.6, it's officially released! Anyone can now add syntax colouring to Lasso code by using Pygments, which many developer-orientated sites and systems currently use.

Bitbucket has already updated their syntax highlighter, so you can use Lasso indiscriminately there now. Steve Piercy has been working to get the same support added to Github.

We didn't stop with Pygments—for those preferring a JS-based highlighter, Eric also wrote a Lasso module for highlight.js. Steve Piercy has done the same for the SyntaxHighlighter project.

In Other News

In other news, the Government of Canada has agreed to support significant additional development and improvement of Lasso this year. Ergo, not only will the regular pace of development continue, but we will also have some additional juice flowing for some of the key ideas we have been experimenting with over the last year to improve Lasso as a language.

Bottom line: Lasso will have significant innovative change this year (and no, we will not be changing the syntax).

So: expect big things. Last year was quiet—this year will be noisier.

Sean Stephens

LassoSoft Inc.


Do make noise LassoSoft !

by Jean-Pierre Kocherhans, 10 March 2013

I am one of the "yet another person" who wrote recently "Is LassoSoft Alive ?" about the (non-)update of the lasso website... Fortunately someone there, Rachel I guess, answered within minutes.

LassoSoft is alive so. Your post is welcome Mr Stephens !

I've relayed it in our blog in french, as in France we may count Lasso scripters on the fingers of one only hand, to my knowledge. Some may ask themselves : what's that stuff ?!

Do make noise !

JPK @ E SYSTEMES - Lille France

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