mapping files to objects

Mike McDonald
Tue, 06 May 1997 20:21:22 -0700

>Subject: Re: mapping files to objects 
>Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 19:45:27 -0700
>From: Kelly Murray <>
>>   It's the chicken and the egg problem. A mail reader is of no use
>> without an SMTP agent. A SMTP agent isn't of any use without a mail
>> reader. So, inorder to break the deadlock, you start by using an
>> existing SMTP agent (aka sendmail), and write the reader. Then someone
>> writes the agent.
>Writing the SMTP agent is a much easier task,
>so it's a better place to start.
>  1. Write a SMTP agent

  Writing a real SMTP agent is no small matter. Handling mail lists,
aliases, routing, name lookup, all add complexity. Writing a simple
one that accepted mail for only the one end machine might not be too
bad. Another approach would be to write a small deamon that periodicly
polled the /var/mail/ file, read the contents in, and forwarded to the
mail reader, thereby simulating a SMTP by using a real Unix one. This
isn't a whole lot different than what Chris is talking about doing

>  2. Write a simple, poorly designed user mail interface
>  3. Start using the bad user interface yourself
>  4. The interface will get dramatically improved very quickly
>     right after step #3
>  5. let others try and use it
>  6. The interface will get dramatically improved very quickly
>     right after step #6.
>  7. Rewrite the entire user interface, goto a new and improved step 3 

  I think this is exactly what Chris has in mind. The only point we're
arguing about is how the messages get into the lisp system to begin
with. It seems like a minor point to be arguing about at this time.

>This is the way to write good software.
>You don't need a degree in Software Engineering to do it,
>the important thing is to "just do it" !

  Yep. Let's encourage Chris and others to just do that. We can point
out their mistakes (we'll call them refinements) later after we get
them hooked. :-) 

  Mike McDonald