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I tried to give an overview of the type system from multiple perspectives: What it can do, how the user uses it and how the compiler uses it.

I’ve been writing this off and on over the last 2 weeks and already have 2 other posts that I’m still drafting that got split out of this one.


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    It is probably worth copying and pasting something I just wrote over on HN in response to Eric Kidd:

    Dylan was an exceptionally good language for its time, and I had a ton of fun using it.

    I hope that you’re on the hackers mailing list still, then. We’re going to start some discussions this coming week about the future of Dylan and making some fairly drastic changes to things.

    One thing is that we’d like to make it much easier to hack on. The compiler is, as you indicate, fairly complex and it would be great to reduce the build time, add more tests, and in general, make it simpler.

    Another is that some parts of Dylan could use an update in keeping with modern research and theory. The type system is an interesting example of this, and that’s why I wrote an overview of what we have now. We’d like to increase the knowledge available to the compiler and increase the amount of static checking that can be done. I’ve already written about adding function types, we want to add parametric polymorphism in a general sense, and there are other things that can still be improved.

    There are also just some missing features in the language & implementation like vector math, a solid Unicode definition and implementation. It would be interesting to revisit mutability of some things.

    And if anyone from here is interested in that, feel free to sign up for our hackers list: http://opendylan.org/community/index.html#mailing-lists

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      This would make a nice addition to the Dylan documentation as a quick overview for people new to the language. Thanks for writing it!

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        Oddly, none of the reviewers pointed out that I missed subclass types! I guess I’ll have to find enough interesting material about that to make a blog post …