[pypy-dev] smalltalk as a model?

Stephan Diehl stephan.diehl at gmx.net
Tue Jan 28 12:40:36 CET 2003


during the last days I got a little bit interested in smalltalk (article in 
c't 2/2003). Since smalltalk is already about 30 years old and shares some 
similarities to Python, some aspects of smalltalk might ease the effort to 
implement Python in Python.
Here are some smalltalk faclets that makes it interesting:
- Everything is an object (even classes and code blocks for example)
- All actions are performed by invoking an object method (even loops)
- there are only 5 keywords and only a couple of "special" characters
- the smalltalk VM is implemented in smalltalk
- smalltalk comes with "batteries included"

With smalltalk in mind, one could write a kind of ProtoPython that has much 
less overhead than the existing Python. 
Possible features of a ProtoPython (very incomplete):
- smaller set of reserved words ("print","import",etc.  shouldn't be reserved 
- no operators, '+','-',... will be methods
- at least the for loop could be a method of a (to be defined) list class.

Even if this approach is absolutely ridiculous, just looking at smalltalk 
might give some ideas/hints how to construct a self describing language.

Some Links:

Squeak (open source smalltalk runtime): http://www.squeak.org
smalltalk 80 :The Language and Its Implementation (contains details about the 
VM): http://users.ipa.net/~dwighth/smalltalk/bluebook/bluebook_imp_toc.html

[Python-Dev] Classes and Metaclasses in Smalltalk:
Guido about a mail from Jim Althoff, inventor of smalltalk metaclasses

smalltalkish python:


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