[self-interest] Self in Java?

Jecel Assumpcao Jr. jecel at merlintec.com
Tue Apr 4 00:39:32 UTC 2000

Randy Smith wrote:
> Anyone care to comment?
> ------------- Begin Forwarded Message -------------
> From: "Dr. Joerg-Volker Mueller" <jv.mueller at lis.lineas.de>
> To: <randall.smith at Sun.COM>
> Subject: Self in Java?
> Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 13:22:25 +0200
> Dear Mr. Smith,
> we are thinking about implementing a small object-oriented language for
> porting our user interface to multiple platforms.

Self, or a Self-derived language is great for this kind of thing. I wish MPEG-4
hadn't adopted Java as much as it did...

> We have a graphical user interface that is generated dynamically out of
> metadata information. We would like to offer a GUI for several PDAs which
> obviously do not have much memory.

Self implementations so far haven't been known for their low memory
requirements, but that was one of the main design goals of the Self-derived
NewtonScript language.

> So we need a small-footprint language to
> send over to the client which constructs the GUI and offers some small input
> validation facilities. Its main task is to build and control the user
> interface components written in Java.

I am supposing that these Java components are not running on the PDA itself.

> During my PhD work here at the Technical University of Braunschweig I came
> across your work on Self. Fortunately there are still some papers on the
> Sunlab Site, but the current implementation you use seems to be either for
> the Mac or Sun Solaris. It seems to be written in C/C++?

This version of Self is not likely to ever become small enough to fit in a PDA.
Translating the C++ code to Java would do very little to reduce the memory
footprint, however.

> So my question is: Do you have a (small!) Self interpreter written in Java?

You should be able to download one from http://www.ConsultAr.com/JSelf/

There was a second one written by Stefan Matthias Aust, but I don't think he
has made it freely available.

But I don't think you can expect to be able to run non trivial Java
applications inside a PDA.

> If not: Would it be difficult to write one?

If you don't have the ambition to be fully Self 4.0 compatible, it can actually
be an easy program to write. Specially if you simplify the syntax a bit and
make it less reflective.

-- Jecel

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