Something "Simple"

Jason Marshall
Fri, 22 Oct 1999 19:39:02 Set the time zone in the Time preference utility

I haven't seen such a beast in existence, but forgive me if I've 
totally overlooked it.  Here's a suggestion for a simple way to start 
amassing the necessary stuff to create a metadata based environment:

Sooner or later, all of the well-known algorithms are going to have to 
be distilled, decomposed, and fully described qualitatively and 
quantitatively.  The design contract will have to be specified (surely 
you wouldn't leave out metadata about the design contract!)

So why not just start?  On the car drive home, I had the thought that 
collections seem a perfectly reasonable place to start.  From there, 
you can extend it into all the other types of logic that are present in 
standard toolkit/libs. You can decide if order of complexity of various 
operations is a useful metadata, if concurrency constraints are.  
Templatization, etc etc.  Then you can decide if you want to expressly 
define the use of these, or just generally describe your program as 
needing a collection of a certain type and with certain qualities, and 
let the runtime or 'compiler' decide what to use.

You might then go so far as to describe the qualities of various 
languages, to allow for legacy application support and iteroperability.  
You can't pass a 128 bit integer into Java, for instance, so to use a 
Java object, integers are limited to 64 bits signed, etc etc.  If you 
can describe a language fully enough, you might be able to layer a 
Tunes environment on top of it as a permanent or a bootstrapping 

Just list out all its qualities and restrictions in english, and figure 
out what directives you'd need to encompass them.  Later, when a 
grammar or a modelling tool are created, someone can easily translate 
the design contract into Tunes-compatible form.  But it's hard to make 
one if you don't know any use cases.  So let's just make some, and 
figure out what to do from there.

I think this would be a perfectly acceptible place to stand upon.  
After that, all you need is a lever long enough...

Jason Marshall
Lurker extraordinaire