Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Mac guys do it at runtime

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:9/8/2000; 8:52:50 PM
Topic:Guido and Richard
Msg #:21039 (In response to 21035)
Prev/Next:21038 / 21040

Eric, it might be possible to route around all this silliness in software by creating a DLL-type interface that allows apps to bind to scripting languages at runtime.

My Yiddish grandma has something to say about this. "Here's a nice bowl chicken soup, and a runtime interface for binding scripting languages to scripting environments and spreadsheets."

Apple did such an interface in the early 90s called the Open Scripting Architecture. It's a very powerful idea, and reasonably well implemented, in fact I understand that Python supports it on the Mac, and Frontier treats Python as a first class scripting language, and look at the distance in license philosophy betw Frontier and Python. Stallman can't bitch, but the user can't tell the difference. It appears as if the two programs are the same.

I've often thought it was sloppy that so much integration in Unix goes on at the source level. It's quicker in the short term, but too heavily reliant on developers. If there were some well-defined interfaces that did runtime binding, users would get exponential power. Why should a spreadsheet only support Python? Don't some people want tcl, and others (shudder) want Perl?

Think about it. This might be one of those ideas your Mac brothers could teach you about, and it could revolutionize the open source world and render the GPL less threatening.

Unless it mentions something about runtime binding, but who the hell is Stallman going to sue? We never agreed to his stinkin license, that's for sure.

BTW, let me get a plug in here for "MacBird" which supports the client side of OSA. If ported to other OSes it could be a simple testbed for a cross-platform open source OSA. (One of the interesting things about MacBird is that it has a recalculating objects. Any object's value can be calculated in terms of other objects, it does spreadsheet-style recalculation. It's one level higher in its scripting connection than HyperCard. (Makes sense because it came out four years after HyperCard.))

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