Tuesday, 29 September 2015

BOOPSOGL time waster

The long story: I finally replaced my AVR (hi-fi amplifier) a couple of weeks ago after blowing it up 1-2 years ago and the new one has some network features. There's a web page to control it and a phone app - but both are pretty shitful. Actually the app isn't all bad but it's a pain for the things I use it for most: volume and mute because the volume knob is clumsy and the way the app handles screen blanking means mute isn't as easily accessed as it should be. I played a bit with the web app and worked out some of it's terrible 'xml-ish' remote control protocol and wrote a little application to perform both - but javafx is way too fat for this. I was recently looking into some opengl stuff and came across a trivial example which uses GLX to setup the screen - it also had some simple X11 Display code so I thought I could just write a super-lightweight Xlib tool for this. But then you need at least a little bit of 'toolkit' to make this doable ...

I'd had a blast of Res0gun and DRIVECLUB earlier but TV was dull so I started poking around some trivial C struct-based object system but then realised how much i'd forgotten since GObject and CamelObject. And then realised all the boilerplate that would be needed to even use such a one, so I went back to my RKRM: Libraries and looked into cloning BOOPSI instead. The only boilerplate that needs is setting a dispatch method, although the dispatch method itself ends up being fat as it fulfills the role a vtable would.

BOOPSI (basic object oriented programming system for intuition) was the AmigaOS 2 solution to general 'objects in C' which was apparently based on SmallTalk (Amiga libraries and devices are also object oriented but are not as general). Everything is implemented using a programmed dispatch call stack rather than vtables. It's not particularly fast but it is very small and flexible and it does have one rather interesting benefit not found in C or C++ - the ability to change any object in the hierarchy without a full recompile whilst still retaining single-instance memory blocks.

The short story: I got a couple of hundred lines into the code which is enough to instantiate objects and define classes together with some core support utilities.

Will I keep poking? I'm slightly curious perhaps but not quite curious enough for that as it gets involved very quickly. Maybe if I use GLX instead of the raw X I was thinking of (BOOPSOGL?). OpenVG? Text rendering is the biggest hassle either way. And layouts, although i've looked at that before.

I guess at least one observation is that back then this stuff looked so fat and cumbersome (albeit a large improvement over base intuition or gadtools), but then yeah, i've seen what else has come since and it really really wasn't.

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