[Xotcl] Issue with mixin delete

Gustaf Neumann neumann at wu-wien.ac.at
Tue May 9 11:54:49 CEST 2006

Scott Gargash schrieb:
> I did a little more experimenting, and it's a little stronger than 
> that.  You also can't remove a mixin from anything invoked by the 
> active mixin.
in the BEFORE part (this concerns everything that directly on indirectly).
> I.e., you can't forward the "mixin delete" to an object of another 
> class.  If the mixin to be deleted is present in the call stack, it 
> appears that the mixin can't be deleted. Not that I expected it to 
> work, but it seems worth noting.
if you have a case that goes beyond "do not remove actvive mixins from 
the before part of active mixin classes"), please send an example.
> > It looks quite easy to give a reasonable error message, when the
> > currently active
> > mixin class is deleted, it will be more expensive to handle this 
> problem in
> > a friendly way.
> Is the expense something that would be encountered on every method 
> invocation, or would it only be paid when deleting a mixin?
a simple solution, not costing anything, would be to restart the mixin 
chain when the active
mixin is removed. This would work with your example but might lead to 
unexpeted cases in
other situations and is no big improvement to the current situation.

We have to deal with the following cases when we have e.g. a precedence
order  M1 M2 M3 M4, and the following happens in the BEFORE part of M2:

a   chain is set to: M1 M3 M4    (your case, you want to continue with M3)
b   chain is set to: M1 M4           defensible M4
c   chain is set to: M2 M1 M3 M4    under current semantics, continue 
with M1
d   chain is set to: M4 M2 M3 M1    continue with M3, M4 will never by 

The general problem is pretty similar to the "immediate" and "logical" 
update view
in logic languages, where the clause base is modified during the 
execution of a goal.
The logical view says that modifications are ignored during execution 
and only
apply to new invocations (similar to SQL), wheras the immediate view 
tries to give
defensible semantics for the active invocations (what you are trying). 
It has been
a while since i worked on this stuff, but it goes back to Lindholm and 
O'Keefe (ROK) from 87, */Efficient implementation of a defensible semantics
for dynamic Prolog code/* (unfortunately, could not find this fine paper on
the net).  In essence, this says that one can only get declarative 
from the logical update view, which is not acceptible for programmers that
want to  change the dynamic  structure, preferring the immediate view,
which is more efficiently in terms of memory and computation. Therefore
most Prolog Systems implement the dynamic update view.

So, the underlying problem is well known and not a matter of a trivial 
The situation with xotcl mixins/filters is in some respects more complicated
since we are not dealing with adding/removing clauses but we have to deal
with reordering, adding or removing items to instance specific precedence
chains; we have as well transitive mixin-chains.

Currently, we can even construct loops by reordering the mixins in the
BEFORE part, which i consider as a programmers bug.

The most promissing approach not mentioned yet is to develop a
c-level implementation of mixin/instmixin/filter/instfilter delete,
which simply flags the entry in the chain as deleted.....


More information about the Xotcl mailing list