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“Scott Lawton, and More on Frontier's Release”

From: Seth Dillingham In Response To: 3908  UserLand Planning to Release Frontier's Kernel
Date Posted: Wednesday, June 9, 2004 11:44:41 AM Replies: 0
Enclosures: None.

Last Friday evening, Scott Lawton sent an email to a few of the Frontier gurus (who someone referred to as "expats"!) with a couple links:

Scott's another old-hand around the Frontier ranch, and another who left to find work elsewhere. His comments have been very similar to others: this is cool, I won't be able to get involved, here's what I'd like to see happen, etc. That's a pretty good mirror of my own feelings.

His wish list includes syntax coloring in the outliner (and script editor): yeah, me too. He also asks for a regex search dialog, but that was added in 9.0.

He wants Python and Java integration, with Python as a first-class language. This sounds good, but also sounds like a huge amount of work. Would it be less work to integrate support for plugin language modules into Frontier, or build a new outliner for Eclipse based on the ideas we'll find in Frontier's outliner? I'm betting the latter.

Most of the rest of his ideas are fairly common, but I don't blame him at all for repeating them.

This isn't easy to say out loud, but I think what most of us want is Frontier's outliner, script debugger functionality, and object database in an otherwise-much-better IDE (like Eclipse), and the object database (and perhaps the language) available in a stable, high-performance server environment.

Frontier is still so... early 90's. I just don't know how or why we should expect it to be updated with 21st century features. What we really want (well, what *I* really want) is access to some of it's features in a modern system. The anachronisms in Frontier are found everywhere, and I've come to believe that updating the worst of them will involve almost rewriting it from the ground up.

I'm leaning towards Frontier's source becoming a place to learn more about object databases and outliners in order to improve other IDE's, rather than a strong platform offering that just needs a few improvements to catch up with the rest of what's out there. The alternative just doesn't seem realistic.

From what Dave has said, though, it looks like he'd be more than ok with that:

BTW, people who say that it's too late can't know that. And the expectations are low. All I want it to see the technology preserved. If one young programmer in Podunk learns something from it, the way I learned from reading the Unix kernel in the late 70s, then I'm happy. If it exists on a hard drive somewhere in the year 2040, that'll exceed my expectations wildly. If a bug gets fixed or a new technique is learned from reading the code, that would be fantastic. We're not finished giving, yet.

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