Vintage CLOS

I’ve been playing with CLOS again these days (after finding it specially apt for one of my pet projects (more on that later)) and just stumbled upon this fun video by Daniel Bobrow, the chair of the committee that standardized CLOS in the late eighties and, to this day, research fellow in the mythic Xerox PARC.
Daniel gives a good introduction to the Common Lisp Object System, its design trade-offs, the main ideas behind it (generic functions, classes, reflection), and talks a bit about the standard body’s work (fun to see how, back in the day, using mailing lists for discussion was considered innovative).
Besides its vintage charm (don’t miss the Q&A session at the end), the talk works as a good little introduction to CLOS (despite occasional inexactitudes), which can be supplemented by this nice article by Bobrow, Gabriel and White.
Enjoy!

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3 Responses to “Vintage CLOS”

  1. Jasper Says:

    I used CLOS for a while. While its nice, the shortness of the notation can actually sometimes get too terse; i actually go to want to add the name of the type infront, so i made a macro that makes both a terse defmethod and a less terse defun.

    Further, i avoid defmethods when i do not actually know the idea behind a function well enough yet. Because if i would use it, i would get distracted by thinking about different cases of the concept. (And when i finally understand it enough, i can always wrap defmethods around.)

  2. // comments are lies! Says:

    AI -TV from 1984…

    José of Programming Musings found a video with Daniel Bobrow explaining CLOS from 1987. Being somewhat of a history-geek, I really love this type of thing and I’ve managed to collect a few interesting links myself….

  3. Jane Middleton Says:

    That’s worth watching if only for the last minute, where he gives advice on working in a group of people with lots of energy. In a lot of projects the concept of energy or momentum is often ignored by managers and by developers, yet it’s vital, it’s the essence of getting anything non-trivial done.


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