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Dylan: A New Language Is Blowin' in the Wind (1992)
62 points by e12ehttps://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/1992/09/dylan_a_new_lan...
thomasjudge - 2 hours ago
"C++ is the COBOL of the 90's" - Jeff Alger
st3fan - 2 hours ago
Too bad Dylan never made it to the Newton. I?m actually not sure
that was ever the intention. Dylan was pretty heavy weight?
dreamcompiler - 1 hours ago
Dylan was a slimmed-down Common Lisp. I thought it was a pretty
good idea at the time but when they dumbed down the syntax
(removed the parentheses) I lost interest. It's ironic that full-
blown Common Lisp could easily run on iphones today but Apple
won't let it.
jolux - 11 minutes ago
What do you mean "Apple won't let it"? Who's stopping you? Just
from Google I found https://wukix.com/mocl for example.
osteele - 1 hours ago
That was definitely the intention. It was intended as a systems
and application programming language for the Newton.The original
Apple implementation compiled to native ARM code. The runtime was
intended to be competitive with C, but by the time we approached
that target, large parts of the toolbox had already been written
in C, and Walter Smith had created NewtonScript as a scripting
language that worked as an alternative for non-performance-
critical code. At that point the Cambridge team re-targetted the
implementation to build Macintosh applications, but that wasn't a
sufficiently compelling (to Apple management) use, and we had
lost our executive sponsor when the director of the Apple
Cambridge lab was promoted to a position in Cupertino.For those
curious about Dylan's history, the Wikipedia page
looks correct.(I'm the ?Oliver Steele? mentioned on that page. I
went to Apple Dylan from Skia ? later released as Quickdraw GX ?
another technology that missed the Newton boat.)
dasmoth - 2 hours ago
The implementation was open-sourced and had a fair amount of work
put into modernising it. Things seem to have gone quiet the last
couple of years, but it's out there if anyone wants to try
ekidd - 51 minutes ago
Ah, Dylan was a ton of fun.First, some personal background: When I
was an intern at Harlequin, I was one of the first users of
Harlequin Dylan. Later, when CMU stopped work on Gwydion Dylan, I
helped start an open source project to maintain it. And when
Harlequin wanted to start open sourcing their Dylan (which later
became https://opendylan.org/ ), I met with them to help hammer out
licensing details. Harlequin released a lot of cool code.What was
cool about Dylan? Well, it was a basically a relative of Common
Lisp, but with an infix syntax, but it had been simplified to
improve code performance. It was a more ambitious language than
Java, with full closures, basic macros, and generic functions.
Dylan had static typing if you wanted it, or you could leave code
untyped. (Unfortunately, collection and function types were fairly
weak due to the lack of standardized generic types.)In the end,
Apple's abandonment of Dylan and the rise of Java united to make
Dylan irrelevant. But it was a fun language, and I had a lot of fun
hacking in it. I think that the closest popular language at the
moment, design-wise, is probably Julia.I still remember one 20-hour
day that where a friend and I set up tower computers in a cozy
basement room at Dartmouth, and I eventually convinced the Gwydian
FFI tool to parse 10,000 lines of Linux headers.
coldtea - 3 hours ago
Ah, if only Dylan and Smalltalk had survived the 90s.
protomyth - 2 hours ago
I'm pretty sure the Pharo folks would say Smalltalk isn't dead
yet. http://pharo.org/ https://www.pharocloud.com/
coldtea - 2 hours ago
Yes they could say it, but popularity and support wise it
wouldn't mean much.Survived = at least at the same level of use
as Ruby, Python, PHP, etc -- or at least Go and Rust.
protomyth - 2 hours ago
I know its still used in several companies. One of which is
quite busy this time of year. One of Smalltalk's big
problems was the companies using it aren't very talkative
about what they use. Smalltalk is in a lot of the back ends
keeping things moving. Cincom and others still make a lot of
cash off it.
agumonkey - 41 minutes ago
Unfair to compare to PHP and Ruby who blossomed because of
the web.Go and Rust are recent and massively backed.I did a
Pharo MOOC last year, ST is far from dead, it's "streets
ahead" in many department its not even funny.
e12e - 2 hours ago
Going to repeat this here:A reminder to others, and a note-to-
self that readable-lisp
exists:http://wiki.c2.com/?SweetExpressionsThe wiki page makes a
valid point; seemingly heavy lisp users will argue against
non-s-expression syntax, but happily use prefix notation for
quote, and infix for pairs...
nine_k - 3 hours ago
You can think of Ruby or even Python as of Smalltalk survived,
and of Erlang/Elixir as of Smalltalk's original vision
implemented, to a degree.
coldtea - 2 hours ago
The whole point of Smalltalk is:1) the integrated IDE/program
experience, which Ruby, Python, Elixir do not give.2) the
totally orthogonal and very limited set of concepts that build
up to the full language. Something that Ruby, Python and Elixir
also don't have.In Smalltalk even a for, if etc statement is
not something special to the language. In a way it has fewer
special forms than
rothbardrand - 1 hours ago
Swift seems to have both those qualities, if I'm interpreting
scroot - 22 minutes ago
It's not the same. With a Smalltalk system, there isn't
really an operating system. All activity we would normally
ascribe to an OS is simply implement in the Smalltalk
environment, using Smalltalk objects, running in a live
image. I recommend checking out the Smalltalk-80 "Blue
Book", which is beautifully written. You can also play with
Pharo too, just be sure to understand that it's adapted for
modern personal computers and therefore has to run as a
virtual machine. A system that could run Smalltalk natively
would be much better.
pjmlp - 2 hours ago
It is not the same without the IDE/full blown OS experience.