[self-interest] Small announcement

Dru Nelson dru at redwoodsoft.com
Mon Jan 1 10:13:03 UTC 2001


I just wanted to get a little bit more about this out on the list
since: I like this list, the people on it, and the projects.

To be fair, this will be the last post about this, since I feel
it is off topic and I wouldn't want to offend the good people

So, since there are Selfers here, I will only go into the history here.


In 1998, I became upset with the current state of computing. Java
had become the new darling, Nextstep looked like it was dead
(as well as Objective-C), Perl/Python was popular - but not the type
of OO I liked. Squeak was/is neat, but the 1970's interface, class
system, and monolithic image system was getting tired. I didn't have
access to a Sun, so I couldn't try Self. During one of my fits, a friend
of mine, Steve Dekorte, kept trying to convince me that prototypes would
be the right way to go. I was at the end of researching various Forth
technologies. Something clicked and I said, I'll create a language using
protos, it will be fun! That was May 1998. I never implmented a language
system before.  (Side note: Steve showed me the Sun Labs Self Video
and I have often drank orange juice out of a Self coffee mug at his

At the 1998 Oopsla, I attended the Prototypes track in Vancouver. Mr.
Dekorte had a presentation. There were maybe 20 people in the room.
At the end, people were discussing ways of advocating prototype based
languages. I raised my voice and announced that I would be creating
a language. Nobody at that meeting probably remembers that or me,
otherwise I would have received queries about that statement over time.

Time goes on. In my off hours when the mood was right, I
would work on the language. A lot of the details about the 
implementation changed. I never thought it would take this long
to get something so little out. A few days ago, blocks finally worked.
The major hurdles were done, it is ready to be looked at. 

*What Is This Language?*

The goal was to create a simple, interpreted, prototype based
    language with Self like syntax.
The language would be implemented in C
The language platform was to be unix (freebsd, linux, etc.).
The language should integrate with unix and other libraries
    very well.
The language should be declarative, not image based. 
The language should be free to download (like Self)
It would be stack based
It will have exceptions (this is a TBDesigned item)
Originally, the VM was going to be an advanced VM, that mapped
to processors well. However, that got pushed off and a simple
stack based VM was used.

Some of the differences with Self are:
 single inheritance,small lexical and grammatical differences,
 no excellent optimization technologies, it is interpreted on
 a VM, not image based, no windowing system or GUI (Morphic?)
 built in.

Current State.

In it's current form, it is very primitive. floats or arrays
aren't there. 'resend' isn't implemented yet, as well as non-local
returns, and a lot of other little things and methods.

I chose the name 'Cel' after Apple took the name Aqua. (The other
names were terrible).

*How Does this Affect Self and the Other Projects Here*

I don't think that this interferes with any of the other projects 
mentioned here: Self Mac OS, MerlinTech, other ports, etc.
I intend to keep going on Cel. However, it is nowhere
near as polished as Ungar's Self on the Mac. Cel is still
a system in flux and many things were implemented in the
'naive' way :-)

Thanks for reading this so far, if you are interested further,
go to the web page. http://www.redwoodsoft.com/cel

I would also like to state that I do enjoy this list, and I
appreciated the help from Jecel for his answers on many occasions.
Without his careful explanations, I wouldn't have gotten even
to this point.

** Thank you **

Dru Nelson
San Mateo, California

P.S. Above, when I said, "In 1998, I became upset with the current state
of computing." I meant, In 1998 I finally decided to do something about
the state of computer technology that has plagued us for the last 15?
years, as a fun, 'what the heck' attempt.

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