Dynamic languages day

The presentations and videos of the Dynamic Languages Day held last month at Vrije Universiteit are available at the event’s web site, which also counted with the collaboration of the Belgian Association for Dynamic Languages, whose home page starts with a call to arms: No Java, C++, Pascal or C here!

Prof. Viviane Jonckers gives an overview on the university’s use of Scheme as the lingua franca for most computer science courses in the first two years, stressing how beneficial to the students is an early exposure to the dynamic paradigm (PDF / Quicktime). A good quick overview of the features that make Scheme different.

No dynamic languages discussion could oversee Smalltalk. Johan Brichau and Roel Wuyts talked about the language’s features (PDF), including its metaobject protocol and flexible development environment, which so nicely puts to good use the dynamic nature of Smalltalk (as demonstrated in the video).

Ellen Van Pasesschen
reviewed the history and main traits of prototype-oriented languages before entering in a tutorial on Self’s strengths and efficiency issues (you’ll be surprised). Her presentation is real fun, and worth to see live. Ellen uses Self extensively in her Ph.D. dissertation, which includes a sophisticated interactive environment (called SelfSync) that creates object networks from Entity-Relationship diagrams, and keeps two-way synchronisation between objects and their ER model: just take a look at this demo to see what i mean.

Finally, Pascal Costanza gave a life demonstration of Common Lisp’s Object System and its metaobject protocol, and how it can be used to implement Aspect-Oriented-like features into Lisp. The talk is targetted at non-specialists, and is full of side-notes explaining CL idiosincrasies and questions from the audience, so that you can learn some Lisp on the way even if it’s not your language. The live part of the talk includes implementing a Python-like object system using the MOP, so be sure to watch the video in addition to downloading  the PDF slides and source code. If you know a little bit about CLOS, or get impressed enough with Pascal’s wizardry, don’t miss Closer, a set of libraries written by Pascal that take CL implementations closer to the MOP specification, and applies it to AOP and what Pascal calls Context-oriented Programming, or ContextL. Since i have yet to really understand what exactly are ContextL’s goals, i’d better just point you to the overview paper i’m currently reading.

Wow, i wish i was there!

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One Response to “Dynamic languages day”

  1. Tayssir John Gabbour Says:

    Context-oriented programming is about marrying dynamic scope and OOP.

    Well, at least Pascal thought that formulation was correct…

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