[Vm-dev] Re: [Pharo-dev] [squeak-dev] Re: The Dilemma: Building a Futuristic GUI for Ephestos

Eliot Miranda eliot.miranda at gmail.com
Thu Sep 18 20:33:45 UTC 2014

Hi Torsten,

    wow, what a great summary.  Thanks.  See below.

On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM, Torsten Bergmann <astares at gmx.de> wrote:

> Eliot wrote:
> >We're getting there with fast.  Tiny needs more definition, but the core
> Cog/Spur VM on Mac minus plugins and GUI >code is 568k, 506k code, 63k
> data; the newspeak VM which has fewer primitives but support for two
> bytecode sets is >453k, 386k code, 68k data.  That includes the
> interpreter, JIT, core primitives and memory manager/GC. Add on >several k
> for the FFI, C library et al and a VM in a megabyte is realistic.  Is that
> in the right ball park?
> Yes, wet's my appetite :)
> Tiny means easy to download and use for scripting, no other dependencies
> for the out of the box REPL experience. But still powerfull to built one
> on another
> and scale up to large programs.
> Initially you provide just a simple VM executable for a "tiny smalltalk"
> (ts), for simple
> things like:
>    c:\myscripts\ts.exe -e 3+4
>    7
> where ts.exe is the VM in a few kB including a small initial kernel image
> (as part of
> the PE DATA section). It should be able to run scripts:
>    c:\myscripst\ts.exe automate.st
> It should be possible to easily build components (either with or without
> the sources):
>    ts.exe sunit.st -o sunit.sll
>    ts.exe sunit.st -noSource -o sunit.sll
> So you can either include other scripts
>    ts.exe -i sunit.st  mytests.st
> or link the previously built binary components to form something new.
>    ts.exe -l junit.sll mytests.st
> But it should be possible to build another vm+image easily:
>       ts.exe -i mykillerapp.st  -o killerapp.exe
>  or   ts.exe -l mykillerapp.sll -o killerapp.exe
> by writing a new PE file for Windows either including a new kernel image
> or a combined
> one based on the already built-in initial kernel of the previous one.
> So I can deploy a killerapp or reassemble it to form the next language
> version.
> SmallScript was very close to that and it was a nice thing to work with.
> Especially since usually Smalltalk usually throws things out at the end -
> but
> one never builds a house by carving it out of a rock. We need bricks to
> assemble.


With the above scheme you could build components, some of them portable,
> others
> explicitly non-portable as the code includes native calls. The later have
> to
> be rebuilt on the other platform - so if you have good design abstractions
> you
> can implement a UI lib on Windows and one on Mac.
> Some of the components are with the source code packaged in for debugging
> (but not changeable), for closed source components you leave it out.
> And still it should support pinnable objects (not moved by GC for
> callouts),
> sandboxing, Classes with UUIDs to allow for side by side loading/migration
> and an extensible meta-scheme as this is where Smalltalk is still the hero
> of all
> und metaprogramming will be our future.

So so far I have pinning.  But I'd love to hear more detail on sandboxing.
 I'm not sure about UUIDs.  What about other mechanisms, namespaces,
ClassBoxes?  UUID sounds too much like an implementation to me.  No one is
proposing qualifying class names with UUIDs
(Array:c5c09212-0c7d-44f3-81b7-18ae5d7f14d9 new: 5 ????).  How about
reitierating this more abstractly?

Also the VM should be available as a shared component - so it can run
> in-process
> in other programs like a web browser. Always wished to write:
>    <script type="text/tinyscript">
>          BrowserLog write: 'HelloWorld'.
>    </script>
> directly in HTML.
> And this is only the beginning of the wish list...

Please, I'd love to have you write a fuller list.  We could add it to the
list at Cog Projects <http://www.mirandabanda.org/cogblog/cog-projects/> or
add it to a "Directions" page or some such.  But capturing these ideas is

>Yep.  But personally I think Fuel is better and just as fast.  Certainly
> that's the parcels experience.
> >  - but still with the ability to bootstrap up to a full saveable image
> Yes, Fuel would be an option. At least it would be platform independent.
> Not sure
> about other options (quick loading by mapping component using memory
> mapped files etc.)

Well, mapping finished images a la VW's PermSpace is probably easier.  The
memory mapping in .Nt is extremely complex.  But I get the requirement;
ultra-fast start-up of small components.

> >This we'll leave to the web framework designers, but it seems eminently
> doable no?
> For sure.
> Bye
> Torsten

thanks again.  And give serious thought to carefully enunciating these
requirements/this design sketch?

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