Why is the OpenDylan IDE only on Windows?

We're often asked when the IDE will show up on Linux or Mac OS X.

Unfortunately, the answer to this is rather complex because the IDE consists of multiple pieces, all of which have separate portability issues.

The Existing IDE

DUIM - The GUI Framework

The biggest reason that the IDE is only on Windows is that it uses the DUIM framework which hasn't yet been ported away from Windows in a functioning and well-maintained manner. (An experimental GTK+ port has existed in the past, but it doesn't currently compile.)

Code Browsers and Inspectors

The code browsers and inspectors pull their information from frameworks that are independent of the GUI. It is possible to use this information separately from the IDE itself. The DIME environment for emacs supplies some of this functionality. The Hula project (now defunct) provided some of this functionality as well via a web-based interface.

This is actually an exciting set of features that our compiler provides. While many other languages have to glue IDE functionality on as a separate set of libraries, Open Dylan's compiler supports it internally from the ground up.


The debugger depends on a couple of key components:

  • A ...
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Windows: Current State of Support

Related to the recent post Why is the OpenDylan IDE only on Windows?, another source of common questions are some of the requirements that we have for running on Windows and the state of 64 bit Windows support.

Building Open Dylan Applications on Windows

Building an Open Dylan application on any platform requires at least a linker. On Windows, it also requires a resource compiler for handling .rc files which controls things like an applications icons.

On Windows, we support debugging an application written in Dylan when using the Open Dylan IDE. To do this, we must have the debug data available. Our debug data on Windows is in CodeView 4 (CV4) format rather than the more modern PDBs in use today. This is partially a historical artifact of the fact that this code was written in the 1990s and partially due to the later formats not being publicly specified.

So, to link on Windows and support debugging, we need a linker that supports CV4 debug data. Unfortunately, Microsoft removed support for this in their linkers after Visual C 6. However, the PellesC linker, polink does support CV4 debug data.

PellesC also provides a resource compiler, porc.exe.

PellesC provides ...

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