[newbie] Complex boolean value?

JArchibald at aol.com JArchibald at aol.com
Tue Jun 19 08:20:02 UTC 2001

=> 6/19/01 2:36:18 AM EDT, ok at atlas.otago.ac.nz =>
<< Since unary/binary/keyword is not a TRUE description (keyword messages may 
be unary and they may be binary), the simple fact that that terminology WAS 
used in Smalltalk and IS used by some Smalltalkers does NOT mean that it is 
appropriate for all Smalltalkers for all time. >>

Of course it is not appropriate at all times. With a depth of experience and 
knowledge about programming languages (which is certainly true of the 
Smalltalk community), one can discuss all kinds of interesting comparisons.

However, one does have to get one's terminology straight.

Rightly or wrongly, the terms 'unary', 'binary', and 'keyword' have been 
pre-empted by Smalltalk, and are used to desribe the basic message forms. If 
one says, "Well, I don't care about that. I want to use 'unary' and 'binary' 
with some other meaning," then the interaction must qualify these terms. I 
will say 1 + 2 is a "binary message in Smalltalk terms'" or it is a "binary 
operator in many other programming languages ... ". In this way, the 
discussion is clarified.

To address the above, a keyword message/method can be "binary in the sense of 
other programming languages;" this is true when there is only one 
parameter/argument. Keyword messages cannot be unary, however, there must be 
at least one parameter.

To say that Smalltalk should not have pre-empted these terms is a different 
discussion. But to deny that this occurred is just not correct.



Jerry L. Archibald

More information about the Squeak-dev mailing list