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Re: The future of Octave

From: Kevin Straight
Subject: Re: The future of Octave
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 10:42:35 -0800 (PST)

On Sat, 9 Dec 2000, Paul Kienzle wrote:

> I've been hesitant to pursue this option for three reasons.  
>     1) The need to learn a second language for programming callbacks
>     2) The overhead of installing and running a second large interpreter
>     3) The ungainliness of tcl/tk

Tcl is too slow, especially since everyone is obviously concerned about
execution time.  I say we should use C++m which Octave can already
dynamicly load.

The embedded interpreter model sounds like it has merit, though.  Let me
see if I understand you:

*) we would have a second process in memory that knew how to draw
all the widgets and process callbacks.

*)We would write an API of functions called in Octave, which would
communicate with this process (with pipes, I guess, but I only know
unix/linux and don't know if this would be portable) to ask for widgets,
then request their states (weather a button was pressed, for instance)

Again, I only know Linux, but I would say that (as long as you could use
dynamic linking) you could run something like this in less than one meg of
user RAM.  I would worry about stability, though.

> It occurs to me, though, that we can apply the same approach that I would
> recommend for an embedded GUI, which is a widget register defining the
> range of widgets available, and their properties and callbacks (including
> some packing widgets).  The widget definition can include all the bits
> of the foreign interpreter that are needed, leaving your Octave scripts
> with pure Octave code.
> The overhead of the second interpreter is offset by the benefit of having
> the GUI in a separate process.  Even if we did our own specialized
> GUI in a separate process, we would still have to incur that overhead
> (though presumably the specialized interpreter would be very simple).

Kevin Straight
University of IdahoŠþstra9456

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