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Re: To gh_ or not to gh_?

From: Keith Wright
Subject: Re: To gh_ or not to gh_?
Date: Mon, 7 May 2001 00:20:14 -0400

> Cc: <address@hidden>
> From: Marius Vollmer <address@hidden>
> The gh_ interface is not going away any time soon, if at all, but it
> is in certain regards a second class citizen compared to the scm_
> interface.  This is mostly because it has been neglected in the recent
> past.  The scm_ interface is the `real' libguile API (if there is such
> a thing) in the sense that it covers all of libguile.  It is also
> difficult and surprising at times, while the gh_ interface aims to be
> cleaner.
> So, I would suggest to stick to the cleaner parts of the scm_
> interface.  The trick is of course to identify these cleaner parts...
> Well, not much of an advice, I'm afraid.  We are currently sorting out
> what to do with the gh_ interface in the future, but even if it is
> going to be removed, this will be a long time off, and the trnasition
> will be smooth.

This is either a revelation (to me) or a revolution (in Guile)!

My impression was that the 'scm_' interface is an ancient artifact,
inherited from Aubrey Jaffer's proto-guile, which is to be superceded
by the new designed-for-guile, yet implementation independant 'gh_'
interface.  The 'scm_' interface, if not deprecated, was soon to
be labeled "for hackers of Guile internals only", while the 'gh_'
interface was to be completed and made useable for most purposes.

I had hoped that if gh_ was "neglected" it was because it was
substantially complete and most people were using it happily.

I haven't been subscribed to guile-dev for a while, so I don't
know what they have been up to lately, but thrashing the design
won't help.

To see if I was imagining things I grep'd some old mail files and
found the following.  I am not sure who the other two are, but
Jim Blandy was el gran hombre of Guile for several years.

> From: Jim Blandy <address@hidden>
> Date: 13 Aug 1998 22:51:23 -0400
> Message-ID: <address@hidden>
> The grand plan is:
> - gh_ will be the clean and interpreter-independent interface.  It
> will be sufficient for writing C apps; at the moment, there are some
> gaps, which we will fill.
> - scm_ will be the interpreter-specific, and possibly
> higher-performance interface.

> From: Christian Lynbech <address@hidden>
> In fact, I believe that STk is supporting the gh_ interface as well
> (or at least working to get there). so `interpreter-independent' is
> more than just marketing.

> From: Gordon Matzigkeit <address@hidden>
> When the gh_* interface matures and people no longer have to use
> scm_*, then Guile will be in a fantastic position.

     -- Keith Wright  <address@hidden>

Programmer in Chief, Free Computer Shop <>
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