prototypes vs classes was: Re: Sun's HotSpot

David Stes stes at
Sat Oct 24 10:59:34 UTC 1998

> De: Dan Ingalls <DanI at>.
> My experience is that it's about equally difficult to get the benefits of
> using prototypes as to get the benefits of prototypes with classes.  I'm
> in this topic because I think one can pretty much have the best of both

With the computer algebra kit, I felt that in some cases, the prototype
based approach was "right" since you could take a polynomial in some
representation, and then make a "similar" polynomial, but in a sligthly
different representation, so in that case, a "clone" message was

But in other cases, I'd just want to create a Term instance as a group of
coefficient, symbol and exponent, and in that case, I just want to use a
factory message for a factory (class) like Term.  If there weren't a Term
class, I'd have to add it anyhow.

> I detect a bit of an attitude behind your question (since I'm sure you
> the answer) and it makes me curious about what your motivation is.

It's very complicated ...

Steve Dekorte is (or perhaps, was, I don't know) an Objective-C supporter.
See homepage :

So if you look for motivation, look in the area of Objective-C.

I think Squeak is setting a standard for other languages ..., certainly
for systems like Objective-C (derived in some sense from ST).

If Squeak would move over to prototypes, then this is a strong argument
for other languages to "follow".

Or as a minimum, it would be a reason to call class-based systems like O-C
"out-dated" because they would still be class-based, while Squeak and
systems would all be prototype based.

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