Moving towards Dylan 2016, the Dylan community would like to address some weaknesses in the language specification and what can be readily expressed in Dylan code. In this post, we'll look at function types as well as provide a brief introduction to some details of the type system implementation within the Open Dylan compiler.
One of the big holes in the Dylan type system is the inability to specify function types. What this means is that you can only say that a value is of type <function> and can't indicate anything about the desired signature, types of arguments, return values, etc. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons:
- Poor static type safety. The compiler can verify very little involving a function value. It can't warn when the wrong number of arguments or the wrong types of arguments are passed.
- Less clear interfaces. The type signature of a function must be documented clearly rather than being expressed clearly within the code.
- Optimization is more difficult. Since the compiler can't perform as many checks at compile time, more checks need to be performed at run-time, which limits the amount of optimization that can be performed ...
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