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.

 
AAPL
$112.65
Apple Inc.
+3.24
MSFT
$47.52
Microsoft Corpora
+1.78
GOOG
$511.10
Google Inc.
+6.21

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Mellel 3.3.7 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
ScreenFlow 5.0.1 - Create screen recordi...
Save 10% with the exclusive MacUpdate coupon code: AFMacUpdate10 Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your... Read more
Simon 4.0 - Monitor changes and crashes...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.2.1 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Adobe After Effects CC 2014 13.2 - Creat...
After Effects CC 2014 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous After Effects customer). After Effects CS6 is still available... Read more
Command-C 1.1.7 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Tidy Up 4.0.2 - Find duplicate files and...
Tidy Up is a complete duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. With Tidy Up you can search for duplicate files and packages by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, time... Read more
Typinator 6.3 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
GraphicConverter 9.5 - Graphics editor w...
GraphicConverter is an all-purpose image-editing program that can import 200 different graphic-based formats, edit the image, and export it to any of 80 available file formats. The high-end editing... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Shift - Photo Filters Designed By You (...
Shift - Photo Filters Designed By You 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Elastic Drums (Music)
Elastic Drums 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Music Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: *** Introduction price 3,99$ instead of 7,99$ *** Elastic Drums is a music app with 6 channels of synthesized drum sounds, a step... | Read more »
Fireworks Simulator (Games)
Fireworks Simulator 1.0.8 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0.8 (iTunes) Description: *** 50% discount – For a short time only *** You can play Fireworks Simulator on these devices: - iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6,... | Read more »
Nicky's Gift (Games)
Nicky's Gift 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Everybody! Merry Christmas! There's 48 levels in the game. Let's go! Nicky's Gift | Read more »
The Hit List — Simply Powerful Tasks, To...
The Hit List — Simply Powerful Tasks, To-Dos, Projects, & Reminders 2.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $9.99, Version: 2.0 (iTunes) Description: >> LAUNCH SPECIAL: The Hit List 2 for iPhone is ONLY $9.99... | Read more »
Mahjong Journey Review
Mahjong Journey Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STEADY MATCHINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Aimed at the more laid back gamer, Mahjong Journey isn’t for everyone, but those looking for some... | Read more »
Emoji Type - custom keyboard with predic...
Emoji Type - custom keyboard with predictive emojis 0.4.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $.99, Version: 0.4.0 (iTunes) Description: Emoji Type is custom keyboard for iOS 8 that auto suggests emojis as you type. ABOUT... | Read more »
Game of the Year 2014 – 148Apps Staff Pi...
The end of 2014 is almost here, which can only mean one thing. Okay it can mean a lot of things, but in this specific context it means Game of the Year lists! Which is why the 148Apps staff have all picked their favorites from the past year. And why... | Read more »
UponPixels Review
UponPixels Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CREATIVE TYPOGRAPHYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Add cool typography and objects to your photos with the easy to use UponPixels.   | Read more »
The Vikings are Coming! CastleStorm’s Ne...
The Vikings are Coming! CastleStorm’s New Update Adds a Survival Mode Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $400 on MacBooks with Apple Certif...
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
Save up to $300 on Macs, $30 on iPads with Ap...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
iOS and Android OS Targeted by Man-in-the-Mid...
Cloud services security provider Akamai Technologies, Inc. has released, through the company’s Prolexic Security Engineering & Research Team (PLXsert), a new cybersecurity threat advisory. The... Read more
KMI MIDI K-Board Great Gift for Amateur &...
The K-Board is a MIDI Nano keyboard for music creation for iPad, Android, And computers; the easiest way to make music with iPads & Android tablets, and Mac, Windows, or Linux computers. Ultra-... Read more
Amazon offers 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook P...
 Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP. Stock is limited, so act now if you’re interested. Read more
Holiday sales continue: MacBook Pros for up t...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more
Holiday sale: Mac minis available for up to $...
 B&H Photo has new 2014 Mac minis on sale for up to $80 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $459 $40 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $629 $70 off... Read more
Google Search App For iOS Gets A Major Makeov...
Google has given iOS users an early Christmas present with a substantial update of it’s not-very-often-upgraded Google Search app. Google Search has been my go-to tool for Web searches since it was... Read more
ShopKeep Apple Pay And Chip Card Reader Avail...
ShopKeep, a cloud-based technology provider to more than 10,000 small business owners to manage retail shops and restaurants with iPads, has released its new Apple Pay and chip card reader. This... Read more
Holiday sale! 27-inch 5K iMac for $2299, save...
 B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more

Jobs Board

Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.