Portable Self?

ian (i.r.) woollard wolfe at nortel.ca
Tue Jul 30 17:06:00 UTC 1996

I've just started playing with Java actually.

I notice that when you want to execute Java you have to translate the
Java code into byte codes so that they can be executed. However,
there's nothing very special about the bytecodes that Java produces;
in theory they could be written in any language.

So I was thinking: Self could do with the portability that byte codes
have. What's to stop someone producing a Self -> java bytecode

The advantages are:

- great portability
- great availability
- okish speed (will get much better as the byte code interpreters
- making the typeless style of programming more popular

The problems I see are:

- interfacing to libraries (presumably not too hard)
- actually writing the compiler (presumably Jecels version of self is
closest to what you want)
- the dynamic nature of self code (e.g. potentially changing
constants/code on the fly-don't know whether Java allows this sort of
self modifying code!)

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