What is "Open Language"?

Richard Gaskin ambassador at fourthworld.com
Mon Oct 26 13:06:03 EDT 2015

Mark Waddingham wrote:

> On 2015-10-24 23:25, Richard Gaskin wrote:
>> I've worked with OS APIs in Pascal, C, and two xTalks, Tookbook's
>> OpenTalk scripting language which provides that built-in, and
>> CompileIt for HyperTalk.
> This is true - they did. However, they come from a time when almost all
> OS APIs were procedural, and quite simple.

Agreed, modern OS frameworks require much more study, hence:

>> The one thing I've learned from that is that the language you're using
>> isn't all that important, because no matter what you're writing in the
>> OS you're talking to expects C:  it uses C data types and structures,
>> provides tons of great sample source but all in C, and requires that
>> you think like a C programmer, understanding and managing data in ways
>> a good xTalk normally insulates from even having to think about - the
>> difference between a pointer and a handle isn't interesting to most
>> xTalkers, but can be essential in C.
> This isn't true. Most of Android's APIs are Java. Most of iOS / Mac's
> APIs are Objective-C. A lot of Windows functionality is provided through
> COM - which is an object-based API. Oh, and in the browser (HTML5) world
> the APIs are JavaScript (another object-based language).
>> By the time you become fluent enough in C to understand OS APIs well
>> enough to use them, you've already learned enough to write in it as
>> well.
> This is simply not the case - there's a huge chasm between being able to
> understand C-style APIs and data-structures enough to use them and being
> able to write C (at least to any degree of use / proficiency).

The gap between understanding low-level data types, structures, 
frameworks, and APIs and being able to write in the lower-level language 
they were designed for is smaller than the gap between knowing only 
xTalk and having to learn to think in terms of low-level data types, 
structure, frameworks, and APIs.

Indeed, that's the point of xTalk.

Don't get me wrong, it's cool where Builder can help make that gap a bit 

But it'll be there, so I think it's useful to help manage expectations 
on this.  The people who currently write externals will be able to make 
excellent use of it, but it may become disappointing for anyone who 
believes Builder alone can substitute for learning the many details 
beyond the language needed to make good use of it.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at FourthWorld.com                http://www.FourthWorld.com

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