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[REBOL] Re: WYSIWYG programming

From: joel:neely:fedex at: 4-Nov-2000 9:59

Hi, Holger, Ladislav, and list, Just a short follow-up quibble on terminology ;-) [rebol-bounce--rebol--com] wrote:
> Holger Kruse tried to explain his notion of what is legal/defined > in Rebol: > > > This way the main block does not get changed during evaluation. > > Only the block referenced from the main block (the one initial- > > ized to be [1]) gets changed. That is completely legal. > > > > I hope you can see now why I dislike the term "self-modifying > > code". There is conceptually a huge difference between the > > first and second example, and the term "self-modifying code" > > tries to be a catch-all phrase that encompasses (and > > discourages) within the same category both legal (and > > potentially useful) and illegal practices.
Based on the analysis/experiments I reported in the previous note, I suggest that the phrase "self-modifying block" is, in fact, a reasonable substitute, for two reasons: 1) The notion of "a block which is currently undergoing an evaluation" is perhaps sharper than "some code..."; 2) It is about usage. If you showed me a bit string and asked "Is this an odd number?" I would interpret your question as meaning "If you USE this bit as a number, is that number odd?" and answer you "yes" or no without worrying about whether some other usage of the same bit string (e.g., as representing a sequence of characters in some source code, as being a fragment of object code for some CPU, as being a TCP/IP packet, etc.) might render the question meaningless. It is in that sense that I think the question "Is Foo a self- modifying block?" is reasonable short-hand (even though the answer may be HIGHLY difficult to produce in some cases ;-). -jn-