On the construction of persistent programming environments
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This thesis presents research into the construction of persistent programming systems. Much of the thesis is concerned with the design and implementation of persistent programming languages, in particular PS-algol and Napier. Both languages support machine independent vector and raster graphics data types. Napier provides an environment mechanism that enables the incremental construction and binding of programs. Napier has a powerful type system featuring parametric polymorphism and abstract data types. The machine supporting Napier, the Persistent Abstract Machine, is investigated. The machine supports an efficient implementation of parametric polymorphism and abstract data types. The Persistent Abstract Machine has a layered architecture in which permits experimentation into language implementation and store design. The construction of compilers in a persistent environment is explored. A flexible compiler architecture is developed. With it, a family of compilers may be constructed at relatively little cost. One such compiler is the callable compiler; this is a first class data object in the persistent environment. The uses of such a compiler are explored, in particular in the construction of an object browser. The persistent object browser introduces a new software architecture that permits adaptive programs to be constructed incrementally. This is achieved by writing, compiling and linking new procedures into an executing program. The architecture has been successfully applied to the construction of adaptive databases and bootstrap compilers.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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