Self 3.0 Beta feedback

Barry Hayes bhayes at
Tue Nov 30 21:16:04 UTC 1993

Well, I'm hacking pretty hard, mostly under the sheets in the VM.  The
high order bit is: great job indeed.  No small task, and well done.

More [and higher level] comments in the VM, but you know that.

Documentation and code have drifted, but we're only in beta -- I
assume that's gonna be fine by release-time.

The UI.  Heh.  Slow sun-4 over a net.  I lose bad.  I seem to want
more flexible [erk I might mean "shell-like"] typeins.  Visual mark
for context would be very nice.  Being able to change context visually
would be nice as well.

Having results avoid stacking if they can might be nice.  Rather than
having a bunch of smallInts stacking in Z, they could also stagger a
bit in X and Y so I can better see them all.  2.55 D rather than 2.5.

Big gripes.  No effective reflection on run-time structures.  I can't
muck with a mirror on an activation and change stuff.  Likewise with
the parsing.  I should be able to change a method's byte-codes and
have the change be effective.

Likewise, I can't see any way to change the output of the parser from
Self, either by hacking the parser or by modifying every method in the
system.  I'd like it sometimes.

I understand there is work afoot to change the way _Prims work.  Good.
I don't know what it is, but I'll spew my half-thought-out idea.  I
see most of the _Prims as methods on some hidden parents.  They are
messages that will invoke a method even if the receiver does not have
an explicit parent-chain for them.  Handy mechanism, and I want it
open to the world.  Or at least me.  How you "ground them out" is
another matter.  I don't like seeing _Defines in code all over the
place -- I might want to change the behavior of defining, and if it's
encouraged to cut to _Prims, I can't do that.  I don't have a good
answer for this, but want to have these "hidden parents" just take
regular messages and be [more or less] regular objects so I can prod
them and change them.

Anyway.  There's other stuff that I know doesn't stand a chance to
make an impact, so the hell with it.  I think I'm starting to like
prototyping ..

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