Patrick Logan patrickl at servio.gemstone.com
Wed Mar 12 16:36:00 PST 1997

    lucid>   I still continue to think that not including pointers in
    lucid> java was a seriously stupid move... I have needed pointers
    lucid> so many times it is unreal. *sigh*

What have you needed pointers for?
Have you looked at the Ada compiler for the JVM? 

AFAIK, Ada has "references" so these may provide you with the
expressiveness you desire.

OTOH, if it is *performance* rather than expressiveness that leads you
to pointers, then the JVM will be the limiting factor no matter what
HLL you use.

Maybe you should consider developing a plug-in or an ActiveX in order
to use C or C++? Maybe Modula-3 would be a good choice since it is
probably the language most like Java but with references, and is
widely available for free on many platforms.

There is a company that has a VM for C++ that supposedly has great
performance as well as safety features for errant pointers,
etc. Perhaps this product could be tracked down and used.

I don't think you are going to get pointers in Java. Java requires a
programming model more like Smalltalk or Lisp. A lot of great high
performing software has been developed in these languages, but it is a
different model from a language that exposes pointers/references.

    lucid>   I still have this wired feeling that java programmers
    lucid> were intended to be idiots, thus they thought to remove the
    lucid> burden of anything so troublesome as pointers. Argh!

It has nothing to do with being idiots. There are entire communities
of programmers who have been developing software without explicit use
of references/pointers for over thirty years. We have been very
effective, thank you. But when there is a legitimate need for
references/pointers, another language or language extension is
needed. And Java does not have that, and will not for a long time if
ever. Choose your tools to fit your needs. Heaven forbid Java should
become the only choice for developing software even for the net.

Then again, lead the way. Kaffe would be a great sandbox for
experimenting with language extensions to Java. Try adding some kind
of reference/pointer mechanism. Modula-3 may provide a model

Patrick Logan                
mailto:patrickl at gemstone.com     Voice 503-614-3365
Gemstone Systems, Inc            Fax   503-629-8556

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