[Vm-dev] RE: To FFI or not to FFI

Andreas Raab andreas.raab at gmx.de
Mon Oct 4 20:20:48 UTC 2010

On 10/4/2010 1:04 PM, Colin Putney wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 11:56 AM, Andreas Raab<andreas.raab at gmx.de>  wrote:
>> In practice, there is a *huge* advantage for porting if all you need is a C
>> compiler and a bit of knowledge about the underlying OS support.
> This brings up a question that I've been wondering about for a while.
> How useful is Slang these days?

I'm sure Eliot will write a long reply, so I'll send the short version: 
Very useful. Not for porting but for developing and debugging.

   - Andreas

> I can totally see how it would have been faster to get the new VM up
> and running in Apple Smalltalk in the first place, but I'm wondering
> if these days it's more trouble than it's worth. Most dynamic
> languages (eg, Ruby, Python, Perl, Javascript) are implemented in
> straight, idiomatic C and benefit a lot from the fact that many, many
> people already have the skills needed to work with the language and
> toolchain.
> In contrast, the Squeak VM is written in a language that almost nobody
> knows, using tools that almost nobody understands. Outside of the
> current maintainers it's a very short list, and many of the people on
> it aren't active in the community anymore. "Implemented in its self"
> is kind of neat, but as a practical matter, Slang is not Smalltalk,
> and a developer skilled in both C and Smalltalk still has a lot to
> learn before he can contribute to the VM.
> So here's a question to the folks that are actively hacking on the VM:
> is Slang still beneficial in your day-to-day work? Do you write and
> debug using the simulator? Is it worth the high barriers to entry for
> the uninitiated?
> Colin

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