chris blogs

August 2006

29aug2006 · Sloop: Sublanguage for Object Orientation with Prototypes

The first sublanguage I implemented is one for prototype-based object orientation, called Sloop.

Sloop was developed in a fully TDD-style and can be found in my darcs repository.

To show its look and feel, we can implement the canonical example of object orientation, an account.

Account = sloop {
  self.balance = 0

  def_deposit  { |v| self.balance += v }
  def_withdraw { |v| self.balance -= v }

  def_inspect { "#(an account with $#{balance})" }

In Sloop, everything is a first-class object, even methods (unlike Ruby, where only Method objects are first-class). Instead of def_inspect, I also could have written:

self.inspect = { "#(an account with $#{balance})" }

However, the syntactic sugar with def_name is nicer to read and closer to ordinary Ruby.

Look how this code is used:

my_account = Account.clone
p my_account

puts "Depositing $10"
my_account.deposit 10

p my_account

On running, you see the expected output:

#(an account with $0)
Depositing $10
#(an account with $10)

The example however can’t fully show the flexibility of the Sloop object system. Have a look at the Circles and Ellipses example.

As you can see, a Circle really is an Ellipse, but they have different implementations! In fact, since we can change the “class” of objects at run-time, we even could cast Ellipses with the same radii transparently into a Circle (the question is “when?”).

The Sloop object system allows for a lot of other powerful things that don’t fit into this article (and after all, it’s still in development). For now, I refer you to the source and unit tests. (You may be curious about the condition mechanism, for example.)

NP: Spiritualized—I Think I’m in Love

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