the great CLOS experiment

I just committed the last touches on some pretty major changes in the erlang-in-lisp epmd branch. I was distracted from my linking/registering work on Tuesday by the fragility of the original design. I had an idea to use CLOS and hoped this would help achieve our goals of pluggable concurrency and pluggable networking as set out in our proposal. I think it worked out; the two branches (main and epmd) currently have the same functionality. However, the epmd branch has an additional layer of abstraction. The concrete implementations of send/spawn/receive can be switched an runtime, and if the appropriate methods are implemented communication should be possible between implementations (currently there is only one implementation).

Next steps are to finally publish my todo list, test distribution (the way things are setup now, it should be working already), and return to my work on registering/linking/spawning remote processes. The CLOS experiment did suck up some considerable time, but I’d still like to finish remote spawning and registration by monday.

One final note, this is really the first time I’ve used CLOS extensively. My initial attraction to Lisp and other languages with an appreciation for functional style came out of a frustration with the tedium of Java. I guess I closely associated OOP with Java and was never very interested in persuing an OO style in these languages. Working with CLOS and generic methods, however, really is OO done right and appropriately melds FP and OOP. For example, specializing on two variables in method feels very functional (actually it makes me feel like I’m using Haskell…is that a good thing?), but we can still have side-effects within the objects themselves. I’m rambling; I like CLOS.

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