[ANN] Slate 0.3 Released!

Brian T. Rice water at tunes.org
Sun Aug 8 20:57:17 UTC 2004

Hello everyone,

After much debugging and tweaking and testing and polishing, we're
declaring Slate as ready for release as 0.3, our first public
fully-bootstrapped system. This is a big step for us, and marks a
critical point in the lifespan of the project.

Slate, for those not aware, is a Smalltalk/Self dialect and environment 
based on semantic extensions to Smalltalk-80 while retaining the 
human-friendly syntax. Slate is primarily based on the choices of 
combining the flexibility of object-specific behavior and expressiveness 
of multi-method dispatch into one coherent form. The environment heavily 
borrows many good ideas from other systems, focusing on integration of 
things long experimental into one coherent whole.

Slate is intended to be useful in every role that Squeak and Self are, 
and to push the boundaries farther in the areas of dynamic media and 
interactivity and flexibility. These will take time to demonstrate, as 
the environment is currently still based on console interaction, but the 
framework is already in place for forward progress.

Slate's website is http://slate.tunes.org/

Here is a summary of what's new:

Slate is now virtual-machine-based using a self-generated set of sources
which are idiomatic and efficient. The VM is generated through a build
process and translation layer which are designed for easy extension,
composition, and integration. The VM loads images which can be built
declaratively through a from-scratch build process we have developed and
can be re-used and modified as needed. Images may also be saved while
running, and reloaded to continue from that run-time point. Much of the
work involved in 0.3 has gone towards ensuring that this new environment
is effectively bug-free and robust, and has succeeded for all the ways
the libraries use it.

Relatively simple optimizations have been added to improve performance,
and have had the effect of nearly-entirely removing the overhead of the
powerful but complicated dispatch mechanism, and making Slate comparable
with other similar languages for basic work.

Nearly every library in the system has been given a full test treatment,
and debugged and polished thoroughly. The fixes and enhancements cover
everything from the C-code generator to streaming and external resources.

Some features have been delayed in their introduction to the new
environment, particularly subjective dispatch, graphics backends, and
socket support, but these will be available soon in subsequent sub-point
releases along with other important features.

Slate 0.3 is released at http://slate.tunes.org/downloads/slate-0.3.tgz

The distribution contains the full set of our repository's source,
initial VM C sources and images, and copies of the programmer's manual
in HTML, PostScript, and PDF formats. The included README file provides
details on how to use it.

Brian Rice

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