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Re: [Axiom-developer] Good Tim

From: Scott Morrison
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Good Tim
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 15:24:01 -0800

Hello all,

It's time for me to weigh in on some issues again.

>>Converting Boot code to Lisp is trivial - just run the compiler.
>>That is the first step that Tim has already used in his recent
>>work to which I am objecting.

I agree that this is not the best way to convert the system to Lisp.  In my earlier post supporting Tim's project I was assuming that he was talking about a real re-implementation.  It was the comment about removing cruft and structuring the data that made me think that.  Compiling Boot to Lisp just adds cruft; none is removed.  The cruft removal implies a real re-write to me.

Now if the goal was to really re-write the interpreter from scratch, I would strongly recommend using Aldor.  It's a great language and it would be ideal for implementing the interpreter. 

The destructuring assignments have been mentioned frequently as a reason to stay with Boot.  That syntax was a favorite of Dick Jenks, and it does lead to some nifty small programs.  It is in the destructuring assignments that all the data structure information really lives in Boot.  Tim mentioned that he wanted to introduce real structured data during his conversion.  To me that mean analyzing all the destructuring assignments in Boot and converting them into real data structure definitions.  If that were done, the Lisp would readable, if not quite as compact as the Boot equivalent.   If the Boot is converted to Lisp by compiling, then you don't get that, and the resulting code would be harder to maintain than the Boot.

My main reason for supporting Tim's idea to convert to Lisp is that Boot is dead, and less powerful than Lisp, so why not convert to a language that many people know?  However, if it is done in a largely automatic way by compiling the Boot, that won't help anybody.

Ideally the whole system will be re-implemented in Aldor, but short of that a well-designed conversion to Lisp would be great.  If it is going to be an automatic conversion without extracting data structures, then I'd say keep the Boot.

-- Scott

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