Traits, Lobbies and The Transporter

Josh Flowers joshflowers at
Mon Jan 10 06:35:23 UTC 2011

As I write up the notes about programming the IRC channel morph 
it's clear there isn't much left: I hooked up all the morphs, rearranged 
some code, and then spent three days finding the relevant formulas 
and incantations to file out my code.  I'll still work to get those notes 
typed up, but I'm also putting together this e-mail to talk about the 
parts of Self I didn't like - mainly because I don't think there's any 
chance they'll generate conversation on the wiki.

So on to the criticism....

Thought I liked traits, but learned that I don't.  When I first came 
across them they seemed like a natural part of the environment, but 
in practice they don't seem to fit.

Self's a concrete environment but traits become very abstract 
objects.  When looking at the code you'll often find them referencing 
slots that don't exist on the trait itself, even if you go chasing up the 
parent slots. Doesn't take me long to realize that the trait object 
assumes it's children define the slot, but it still doesn't feel right.

The lobby:
Pettily, I don't like the name.  As a user of the system I don't think of it 
as the place where objects enter the world (and if I did I'd still 
probably not like 'lobby'), but as a place where the blue prints for 
objects are kept.  If anything the already-used term 'factory' seems 
like a better name.

But that's just semantics - what really strikes me about the lobby is 
that it feels like it should be a virtually-physical place.  Much like the 
actual morph Factory, there should be a way for me to simply drag 
an outliner into the lobby, and then name it (and then drag them out 
again when needed).

The Transporter:
We've gone over this one to some degree so I won't go into detail, 
but it also lacks the tangible feel of Self.  To back up the point a bit, I 
don't believe the IRC channel morph I created has ever successfully 
been filed out/into a clean snapshot.  The transporter may be a good 
tool for a lot of things, but it also feels like there needs to be an 
easier way to share objects.

I also don't like the same-named movies, but I don't think that's
influencing me.

Just points for conversation (if any of us have the time),


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