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what is the point of metacircular interpreter?


what is the point of  metacircular interpreter or compiler? do they
help with analysis or something?
it's interesting but is it useful? I can't think of anything useful.
do they help catching bugs? please give examples. thanks.
On Apr 1, 1:59 am, dillog@gmail.com wrote:

> what is the point of  metacircular interpreter or compiler? do they
> help with analysis or something?
> it's interesting but is it useful? I can't think of anything useful.
> do they help catching bugs? please give examples. thanks.

A metacirular interpreter gives you an interactive environment in
which to prototype new languages or new language features. I was
surprised to find out that the first smalltalk implementation was
written in BASIC, for that very reason.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2409496407757723940&q=seven+i...

On Apr 2, 1:08 am, nottysym@yahoo.ca wrote:

> On Apr 1, 1:59 am, dillog@gmail.com wrote:

> > what is the point of  metacircular interpreter or compiler? do they
> > help with analysis or something?
> > it's interesting but is it useful? I can't think of anything useful.
> > do they help catching bugs? please give examples. thanks.

> A metacirular interpreter gives you an interactive environment in
> which to prototype new languages or new language features. I was
> surprised to find out that the first smalltalk implementation was
> written in BASIC, for that very reason.

sooner or later people are going to realize that they have never
advanced beyond BASIC for the simple reason that the underlying
machine is the "BASICALLY" the same, unless quantum computers are
available.... no one has managed to "close" the "algebra" of
programming language in any meaningful way...

dillog@gmail.com writes:
> what is the point of  metacircular interpreter or compiler? do they
> help with analysis or something?
> it's interesting but is it useful? I can't think of anything useful.
> do they help catching bugs? please give examples. thanks.

They're useful when you implement Domain Specific Languages.  Since
the whole lisp language can _easily_ be implemented in lisp, you can
do it whenever you need to extend the language in a domain specific
way.  Therefore, your DSL, instead of being restricted to the poor
capabilities and idiosyncrasies you could come with, is actually an
extension of lisp, where you benefit of the whole lisp power.

(And in practice it's not necessarily slower, since you can usually
compile the meta-level down to the same level as the native code ).

--
__Pascal Bourguignon__
http://www.informatimago.com
http://pjb.ogamita.org

Mmmmmm.... Smells like... werty!
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