Strongtalk VM for Squeak
danielv at techunix.technion.ac.il
Tue Sep 19 18:28:34 UTC 2006
Ramon Leon wrote:
> The addition of manifest types, to a dynamic languages, is a MASSIVE
> change, not a marketing issue.
> StrongTalk is an interesting experiment, mostly for the VM
> optimizations, but that's all it is, an experiment, it's not some
> production ready proven dialect that's ready for prime time.
True, but you're ignoring some information that we do have. People who
"get" Smalltalk have considered the type system worth their while to
make, even though they knew (and this was novel at the time) that it was
not there for performance reasons. So some set of Smalltalkers have
considered this an improvement to Smalltalk. I would treat this as a
hint that Strongtalk types are not like Java (et al) types, and
therefore require separate evaluation based on facts.
> Adding types to Smalltalk, is a mistake, and isn't in the spirit of
> the language, and frankly, imho, would ruin the language. It's not
> something you can just add and move on.
You do know the types are optional, right? considering that they are, do
you know exactly how they affect programming in it, that you can say
they'd ruin the language?
> Types aren't blocking wider adoption, ignorance is. The wider
> community is generally ignorant of the benefits of Smalltalk, dynamic
> typing, image based development, language aware source control, etc.,
> etc, etc. Smalltalk doesn't need to come to them, they need to come
> to Smalltalk, and they are, slowly but surely, every major language
> has been moving closer and closer to Smalltalk for years.
In the context of the previous discussion, by every "major" language, I
presume you mean every popular language. This is generally true, but not
strictly so. Another direction in which they are being pulled is the ML
kind of typing - mandatory, strong, static, but not (very) verbose.
Verbosity is replaced by type inference. We all know that static verbose
types are bad because they cost too much in malleability for what they
give in reasoning over programs.
Are you sure that *optional*, static, non-verbose types would still not
be worth it? (btw, I'm not claiming the Strongtalk type system is such -
I have no idea whether it is verbose).
> VM's, refactoring, Object Orientation, IDE's, garbage collection, and
> extreme programming are all now common, a sure sign of the direction
> of the mainstream. A few more years, and they might catch up to
> Smalltalk 72. ;)
> > Another point about typing: would the typing information
> > be useful for improving the developer tools (e.g. refactoring
> > could be more precise)?
> Yes, and the cost would be much bloated and hard to maintain code, a
> net negative result.
Do you (or anyone else listening) know the Strongtalk typing system well
enough to attest to this or refute it?
> I'm sure there's some interesting things to be gleaned from the
> StrongTalk VM,
I for one hope that the different open advanced VM efforts (Coke,
Exupery, Strongtalk) can cross fertilize.
> but Squeak, needs to remain Squeak,
That was never Squeak's purpose. Squeak needs to replace Squeak with
something better. That will never happen if our assumption is that
Squeak (or Smalltalk) is any kind of global optimum.
> StrongTalk is the wrong direction.
Stated, yes. Demonstrated, no.
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