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Language peer sets for Dylan:
United Kingdom
United Kingdom/1992
Designed 1992
1990s languages
Fifth generation
Post-Cold War


alternate simple view
Country: United Kingdom
Designed 1992
Published: 1992

DYnamic LANguage. Advanced Technology Group East, Apple Computer. Apple Cambridge

Deneral-purpose, high-level programming language. includes garbage collection, type-safety, error recovery, a module system, and a programmers control of run-time extensibility of programs. Invented by Apple Computer. Uses one construct for simple purposes through multi-method dispatch.  DYLAN is dynamic, anything that is not flagged constant can be changed at run-time.  It's common for a DYLAN class to start off using generic (weak) types, and to later refine the types to be specialized (strong). Functions can have both positional and keyword arguments.  Compiles like C++, compiler optimizes out much of the object-dispatch and dynamic overhead that plagued SMALLTALK.  DYLAN classes are simple compared to JAVA or C++. Each class contains some number of slots, which hold objects. DYLAN's objects are alot like SMALLTALK's: both have languages with "objects all the way down", even a simple number is an instance of a class.  Doesn't enforce information hiding by class like JAVA or C++, it enforces it by module. Modules can import, export, and re-export names, and imported names can be mapped to different names to avoid names clashes.  Supports multiple inheritance without redundantacy, to encourage a mix-in style programming. Can descend from a base class more than once through multiple inheritance, but will still only contain one copy of the base class.  In DYLAN, methods don't belong to classes, they are basically functions, organized into generic functions. Proponents claim that this makes adding functionality much easier than having to modify classes or create subclasses to add new methods.

Apple stopped support for Dylan at Technology Release 1, and it was taken up by Harlequin. WHen Harlequin got out of the language business it went to Functional Objects

Related languages
C++ Dylan   Influence
CLOS Dylan   Influence
Scheme Dylan   Evolution of
Self Dylan   Influence
Smalltalk Dylan   Influence
Dylan Brenda   Simplification of
Dylan Functional Developer   Extension of
Dylan Gwydion   Implementation
Dylan Marlais   Implementation
Dylan MINDY   Implementation
Dylan Noodlle   Subset
Dylan ScriptX   Influence
Dylan Thomas   Compiled by

  • (1992) "Dylan, an Object-Oriented Dynamic Language", Apple 1992.
  • (1995) Dylan Competitive Analysis draft 13-Feb-95, Stoney Ballard, Apple Computer online copy
  • Shalit, A., D. (1996) Shalit, A., D. Moon, et al. (1996). The Dylan reference manual : the definitive guide to the new object-oriented dynamic language. Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley Developers Press.
  • Craig, I. (1997) Craig, I. (1997). Programming in Dylan. Berlin ; New York, Springer Verlag.
  • Feinberg, N. (1997) Feinberg, N. (1997). Dylan programming : an object-oriented and dynamic language. Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley.
  • Phil Hughes (1999) Phil Hughes "Guido van Rossum" Linux Journal Volume , Issue 68es (December 1999) Extract: Anecdote
  • (2002) Library of Congress Subject Headings D95
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