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Re: Industry versus academia
> We (at Ascent) use Lisp too, but our db, and
> X access is done thru Forth!
I'm very interested in Forth. Could you elaborate a little what "db and X
(X11?) access" means, and why you chose Forth?
Sure -- I think Patrick O' Donnell, our senior person who wrote most
of that code reads this list occasionally so he may be better suited
to answer this and related questions.
But my bird's eye view is that forth is one of the few non gc'ed
languages wherein you can define user-definable functions (words) at
run time. I know gc is considered a win on this list, so no flames
re. that please :)
The reason we wrote those layers I imagine (some of it was before my
time) is to allow us to develop such code to connect to databases and
to throw up user interfaces from Lisp machines and we were not
satisfied with CLX/CLIM or ODBC type stuff. Also, by developing that
layer, we could port our applications to run on other machines/OS as soon
as we had a Lisp compiler (+ X server/client libraries + OCI
libraries) for that machine/OS. (i.e. it decoupled our development of
platform specific code from the development of our applications -- no
small feat :)
Forth makes it easy to connect to C code for X11 and OCI (Oracle),
Sybase etc. and provides a way for Lisp to connect to it and define
new transactions.. our programming is done entirely in Lisp, and the
forth layer is somewhat hidden (except on rare occasions when you need
I'm probably not doing it justice.. but hope that's useful.