Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic Implementations of .NET-Targeted Languages Problematic
started 2/28/2002; 2:38:36 PM - last post 3/2/2002; 3:44:30 AM
Brent Fulgham - Implementations of .NET-Targeted Languages Problematic  blueArrow
2/28/2002; 2:38:36 PM (reads: 1197, responses: 4)
While the JavaLobby likes to point out flaws or perceived problems with the Microsoft's .NET initiative, the first "real world" data I've seen on the work involved in retargeting a language to .NET was made available by the good people at ActiveState. In a white paper (MS Word Format, sorry) they discuss their efforts to retarget Python as a .NET language.

Interesting quotes include:

The speed of the current system is so low as to render the current implementation useless for anything beyond demonstration purposes. This speed problem applies to both the compiler itself, and the code generated by the compiler.

The existing Python for .NET system does not allow any leverage of existing Python code. Although much of the standard library can be ported to .NET, it would not be reasonable to attempt to cover every Python module available.

And a good goal for future .NET development:

However, with Python and every other such language needing to invent its own dynamic solution, these languages are not able to share such features, even when it would make sense to be able to do so. Formalization of these features in .NET would allow multiple dynamic languages to interoperate in a natural manner.

Although they state in their conclusion that the project was a complete success, in that they delivered a working Python interpreter environment, I take issue with that claim. The Python product they created:

  1. Does not support multiple inheritence (violating Python language rules)
  2. Can't load or use existing Python libraries.
  3. Cannot handle dynamic method invocation.
  4. Class and instance semantics in Python are violated, using instead C#'s behavior.

While this was certainly an interesting paper, and very valuable work on their part, I think it does more to show that the CLR is not necessarily ready-for-primt-time at least as far as targeting multiple languages.

Adam Vandenberg - Re: Implementations of .NET-Targeted Languages Problematic  blueArrow
2/28/2002; 6:12:08 PM (reads: 1262, responses: 0)
FYI: With Windows2k/Office2k, trying to open that whitepaper immediately GPFs Office.

Ehud Lamm - Re: Implementations of .NET-Targeted Languages Problematic  blueArrow
3/1/2002; 1:54:31 AM (reads: 1252, responses: 0)
I was able to view the file in Win2K,OfficeXP ("Word 2002" says the about dialog box).

scruzia - Re: Implementations of .NET-Targeted Languages Problematic  blueArrow
3/2/2002; 12:18:48 AM (reads: 1053, responses: 0)
The document crashed MS Word in Office 2001 on Mac OS 9.2.1, also. So I tried a few more times and finally created an HTML version; there's a link to it at . To me, the fact that a broken word processing document can still (in 2002!!) crash MS' most popular application provides some real-world (and real-depressing!) perspective on .NET. I hope ActiveState isn't betting their farm on it.

Here's a more permanent link to that HTML conversion that I did:

mattias waldau - Re: Implementations of .NET-Targeted Languages Problematic  blueArrow
3/2/2002; 3:44:30 AM (reads: 1043, responses: 0)
The document is dated November 2000, how accurate is it?