TweetFollow Us on Twitter

May 92 - Why OODLs are Good for You

Why OODLs are Good for You

Jeffrey W Stulin

Jeffrey W Stulin Computer Software Consultants AppleLink: D1104

End of a Friendship?

During a recent visit to Florida, while staying with friends (a pair of authors), I had a frustrating, ninety minute, one a.m. argument about programming languages.

My friend Bob has had no formal computer education, yet he was able to create a sophisticated poker playing program written totally in HyperTalk. He proudly demonstrated the program running on his new Powerbook 170 (Yes, a 170. He is a best-selling author....)

After the demonstration we discussed Bob's plans for continuing his computer self-education. He wanted to know why he should learn another computer language. After all couldn't you program anything using HyperTalk?

I went into my usual b/s about Turing Machines, and yes you could theoretically use HyperTalk for all programming, but that HyperTalk was impractical for many problems.

"Like what?" he asked innocently.

During the next hour my blood pressure rose to 200 over 100; we wasted a tree trying to outline examples and counter examples; Bob went through half a bottle of scotch; both wives fell asleep in their comfy chairs (clearly not software ideologues); and I ranted eloquently about both practical and obscure issues in software development. But Bob just sat there shaking his head and repeating:

"Couldn't I just write a HyperTalk function to do that?"

What really annoyed me was that he was right: you can do just about anything with a HyperTalk function. At least anything that Bob could conceive of, since he has only had the HyperTalk language to express his programming thoughts.

Bob and I lacked a common vocabulary to talk about software concepts beyond his experience. Arrays, objects, structures, file management, and typed variables are a mystery to him.

End of my credibility in MADA?

This is the same problem I have in convincing those of you without significant dynamic language experience that OODLs-Object-Oriented Dynamic Languages such as Macintosh Common Lisp (MCL) and Smalltalk-are a good idea. We don't have a common vocabulary for communication.

Here is a statement that will get me into trouble. Putting aside the issue of runtime performance I claim that:

The set of interesting problems which can be reasonably explored and expressed using an object oriented dynamic language such as MCL is, while not a proper superset, much larger than the set which can be reasonably explored and expressed by a static language such as C++.

By "explored and expressed" I mean that, when faced with a problem, a programmer must first figure out how to solve it and then express the solution using a programming language.

Their ability to explore and express a large set of problems is the reason that dynamic languages have been the mainstay of Artificial Intelligence, which has tried to solve the "hardest" problems.

I can see that many of you are shaking your head in skepticism. After all, if OODLs are so good, why doesn't everybody use them? (You may also want to ask yourself why object-oriented programming didn't catch on in the 1960's when it was invented.)

The traditional answer (there are others, but this is the big one) is that their runtime performance characteristics are poor. They are slow, they use lots of memory, and they are occasionally interrupted by garbage collection. Which leads me to my second claim:

Advances in hardware and compiler technology will soon overcome the traditional runtime performance problems of OODLs.

In my yet-to-be-published third MCL article, I will note that figuring out how to squeeze performance out of MCL is not easy, but once done (or, in my case, once told how by the MCL development team), performance, as an issue, almost disappears.

Based on these claims, I draw a conclusion:

Sometime around the end of this decade, OODLs will be the mainstream tools used for developing software applications.

Don't take my word for it, I'm just some fool babbling over the link-waves. You can believe Larry Tesler, whose keynote address at the MADA conference said much the same thing. In fact, you don't even have to believe me about what Larry said; my understanding is that his speech is included on the conference CD. Watch him for yourself.

Is there Help for bob?

You may have noticed that this article is filled with philosophical hot air and is disappointingly thin on evidence, just like my argument with Bob. I admit my sins, ask forgiveness, and make a promise. If you, the MADA community, show an interest in OODLs, then I (and others) will write a series of articles exploring aspects of OODLs which will prove the claims stated here. Topics will include: What makes dynamic languages so expressive, dynamically vs. statically typed variables, automatic memory management, runtime performance of dynamic languages, etc. etc. And I will make Bob read them all.

I believe OODLs are in our professional future, that we can have a say in the direction of OODL development, and that programming with OODLs is more productive and pleasant than is programming using the current crop of static languages. That is why I am a co-founder of the new OODL/MCL SIG.

Interested? Join the OODL/MCL SIG and let me know.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

calibre 2.17 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.1.2 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
OmniGraffle 6.1.2 - Create diagrams, flo...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
RoboForm 2.0.2 - Password manager; syncs...
RoboForm is a password manager that offers one-click login, mobile syncing, easy form filling, and reliable security. Password Manager. RoboForm remembers your passwords so you don't have to! Just... Read more
Apple MainStage 3.1 - Live performance t...
Love the sound you got on your recording? MainStage 3 makes it easy to bring all the same instruments and effects to the stage. Everything from the Sound Library and Smart Controls you're familiar... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0.2 - Drag-and-drop Web de...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With its user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.44 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
Stacks 2.6.9 - New way to create pages i...
Stacks is a new way to create pages in RapidWeaver. It's a plugin designed to combine drag-and-drop simplicity with the power of fluid layout. Features: Fluid Layout: Stacks lets you build pages... Read more
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Ea...
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is a new science-fiction-themed entry into the award-winning Civilization series. Set in the future, global events have destabilized the world leading to a... Read more
Logic Pro X 10.1 - Music creation and au...
Apple Logic Pro X is the most advanced version of Logic ever. Sophisticated new tools for professional songwriting, editing, and mixing are built around a modern interface that's designed to get... Read more

Choice Provisions is Set to Launch Destr...
Choice Provisions is Set to Launch Destructamundo on iOS This Month Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] Choice Provisions – home stable to | Read more »
King of Thieves – An Interview With Zept...
Ahead of the release of ZeptoLab’s King of Thieves, we were able to ask ZeptoLab’s co-founder, Semyon Voinov, a few questions about the inspiration behind the game and what that means for the Cut the Rope franchise. | Read more »
Handle Review
Handle Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: SPEEDY ORGANIZINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Handle is a very convenient way of juggling your emails, To Do list, and Calendar all through one... | Read more »
The New Disney Inquizitive App Offers a...
The New Disney Inquizitive App Offers a Place for Fans to Take Disney Quizzes Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Hands-On With Cut the Rope Developer Zep...
Marking quite a departure from ZeptoLab’s past successes, namely the Cut The Rope series, King of Thieves is shaping up to be quite promising. Due for release in February, we were lucky enough to have some time with a preview build to see exactly... | Read more »
Fast Fishing Review
Fast Fishing Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: LIVES UP TO ITS NAMEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fishing is far from relaxing in Fast Fishing, but it is fun.   | Read more »
The LEGO Movie Video Game is Available N...
The LEGO Movie Video Game is Available Now for iOS Posted by Ellis Spice on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Satellina Review
Satellina Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: TWITCHY BUT TACTICALUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Satellina requires quick thinking and twitchy fingers, and it’s pretty fun.   | Read more »
Tail Drift, the Crazy 360 Degree Flyer,...
Tail Drift, the Crazy 360 Degree Flyer, Has Gone Free-to-Play in a New Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 22nd, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
PureSkate 2 Review
PureSkate 2 Review By Tre Lawrence on January 22nd, 2015 Our Rating: :: ALMOST ALL AIRUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad PureSkate 2 lets one’s fingers do the skateboarding.   | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

College Student Deals are back, additional $5...
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through April 11, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus GIve Apple Half Of US Mob...
Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (CIRP) have released analysis of the results of its research on mobile phone manufacturers for the calendar quarter that ended December 31,... Read more
Save $100 on MacBook Airs with 256GB of stora...
B&H Photo has 256GB MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook... Read more
21-inch 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179, save $...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any... Read more
iPhone Usage Rates by State Correlate With Ed...
Chitika Insights notes that despite iPhones being the largest source of smartphone Internet traffic in North America, their latest study finds a relatively high degree of variation of iPhone usage... Read more
ProGearX Extendable Pole “Pov/Selfie Stick” M...
There’s something inescapably narcissistic about the concept of selfies as they’ve developed as a smartphone-driven social (particularly social media) phenomenon that rubs me the wrong way. However,... Read more
iPad Air 2 on sale for up to $100 off MSRP, 2...
 Best Buy has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for the next two days. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices available for online... Read more
Roundup of Apple refurbished MacBook Pros and...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Sale! 13-inch 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro for $...
 B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model... Read more
Next OS X/iOS Version Upgrades Should Concent...
On stage at Apple’s World Wide Developers’ Conference in June 2009, Bertrand Serlet, the company’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering at the time, announced that the forthcoming OS X... Read more

Jobs Board

Business Development Manager - *Apple* Pay...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced business development manager to support the identification, recruitment, negotiation and ongoing management of Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Lead Operator, GSOC - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Apple is seeking an exceptional, customer service oriented and experienced persons to fulfill the role of Apple Lead Operator (ALO) as part of the Read more
Order Support Supervisor- *Apple* Online Sto...
**Job Summary** The Apple Online Store (AOS) Order Administration team is looking for an Order Support Supervisor to manage and lead a team of Specialists through the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.