[self-interest] How is "a slots object" created

Casey Ransberger casey.obrien.r at gmail.com
Wed Feb 9 18:11:56 UTC 2011

Self is a lot simpler than Smalltalk; or it appears that way. In reality the VM is a lot more complex. That's part of why it's less portable. You have to port the VM. 

I mean one could write a naive interpreter for it, but it'd be too slow to be useful (or at least slower than most languages.)

Squeak just got a new VM (Cog) that does some of the cool stuff that Self does, and I'm personally interested in learning what's still "missing" to be able to do self-like prototypes without cheating by having 1:1 map between class and prototype (which is how one would usually do Prototypes in Smalltalk to my knowledge.)

God knows a lot of us would be pretty happy to cease having to explain the difference between a class variable and an instance variable, yuck.

There have been efforts to add ideas from Self to Squeak, but most haven't stuck. There was something called Marvin that supposedly made Squeak more Self-like. There is also a Traits implementation which hasn't gotten a lot of traction, and feels a bit like a "bag on the side of the Eclipse" to a lot of folks. 

As a lot of us can't even use Smalltalk at work, I think there may be some pent up energy around "if we could burn our disk packs, would we stop at Smalltalk? Would we stop at Self?"

I'm personally hoping that some new VM/compiler technologies might fall out of the STEPs project at VPRI that maybe make implementing object models like those of Self a little less epic in terms of total amount of work, but I don't know. 

I'm off topic though. I bet a Windows VM would help adoption a *lot*.

On Feb 9, 2011, at 7:09 AM, Duke Normandin <dukeofperl at ml1.net> wrote:

> On Wed, 9 Feb 2011, David Harris wrote:
> > On Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 5:59 AM, Duke Normandin <dukeofperl at ml1.net> wrote:
> >
> > > [sidebar]
> > > Speaking of company, it seems that Self does not even have a quorum to
> > > make a "community". Perhaps there are more Self programmers around
> > > than I realize though - but they sure are quiet! What is surprising to
> > > me, is that the Smalltalk community hasn't adopted Self to a greater
> > > degree. I wonder why not?
> >
> > Probably because Self was originally limited to Sun workstations,
> > and needed more resources than most had. However, the Smalltalk
> > community did embrace it to a certain extent in that they adapted
> > Morphic.
> So I take it that the Self ports to other architectures happened too
> late to make an impact on the programming community at large?
> However that may have been, if Self is _that much_ simpler, and yet so
> close to Smalltalk's "look and feel", why would the _entire language_
> not be embraced, instead of just a single feature. What goes through
> a Smalltalker's mind that makes him stay put with Smalltalk, instead
> of dropping everything and easily (I assume) adopting Self? There's
> something missing in this picture! :)
> -- 
> Duke
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