Smalltalk Transform

The transformation classes and how to use them.

While all Smalltalk dialects share the same message sending paradigm with the same basic syntax. Many dialects extended the syntax (VW: namespace and literal bindings, Squeak: dynamic array, Amber: literal dictionaries, etc.).

The basic class library (Object, Number, Collection, Class etc.) with standardized selectors are the same in all dialects. But each one extends the library and classes with their own ways of doing things.

There are some cross dialect libraries like Glorp.

The UI, at the other end, is very different in all dialects, so that porting is almost impossible.

Changes are defined on different levels according to the organization of the code:

  • Methods On the lowest level we deal with source code and its transformation.
  • Classes Which methods are transformed and how and do the instvars change?
  • Packages Which classes to file out; what to load as prerequisite; changes to the hierarchy.
  • Project The top-level object fully describing all transformations. Prerequisites, pundles and namespace-to-prefix mapping.

The source code is in methods which syntax may be different in the target system.

There are 3 kinds of changes concerning methods:

  • Ignore This method of the source system should not be written to the target system.
    Ignore method: #asPDF
  • Add This method is added to the target system. The method does not exist in the target system.
    Add method: #asPDF code: #_gs_asPDF
  • Replace This method of the source system is replaced by the body of the target method
    Replace method: #asString code: #_gs_asString
    • Rewrite The body of the source method is transformed by a Rewrite rule
      Rewrite method: #pdfVersion rule: #replaceDottedName

Add and Replace refer to code in a method private for the target dialect. The body of the #code method is combined with the selector given by #method.


The VW method #isLiteral in Object is:

	"Answer whether the receiver has a literal text form 
	recognized by the compiler."

But in Gemstone, the method should be: (this method is defined as extension to Object in package [Gemstone Fileout PDFtalk])

	^self literalString notNil

With the transformation

	classReference: #{Object}
	instanceChanges: (Array with: (Add method: #isLiteral code: #_gs_isLiteral))

the following is written out as new method for Object in Gemstone:

	^self literalString notNil

In case that the target class is not in the source system, the code is defined in a special placeholder class: CodeHolder. The methods here should have the proper protocol and be on the class or instance side.

Changes related to classes.


Changes related to classes defined or extended by the package.

	classReference: 	<class reference>
	superclassName: 	<Symbol>
	options: 		<Array of: String>
	instanceChanges: 	<Array of: MethodChange>
	classChanges: 		<Array of: MethodChange>

classReference :: the class of this change

superclassName :: ???

options :: Gemstone class definition options

instanceChanges :: instance method changes

classChanges :: class method changes


Changes related to classes in the target dialect.

	className: 		<Symbol>
	instanceChanges: 	<Array of: MethodChange>
	classChanges: 		<Array of: MethodChange>

className :: The name of the class in the target dialect

instanceChanges :: instance method changes

classChanges :: class method changes

Changes related to a package or bundle.

	unusedClasses: 		<Array of: class reference>
	newSuperclasses: 	<Dictionary key: class reference value: Symbol>
	newClassNames: 		<???>
	hierarchyChanges: 	<Array of: ClassChange>
	localChanges: 		<Array of: ClassChange>
	extensions: 		<Array of: SystemClassChange>

unusedClasses :: classes not to be filed out. Accumulates in a project: specified in one package, applied to all following packages.

newSuperclasses :: classes with their target dialect superclass

newClassNames :: (preparation for class renamings - not done or used yet)

hierarchyChanges :: class changes for a class hierarchy

localChanges :: class changes for classes defined or extended in the package

extensions :: system class changes for classes only defined in the target system

Changes related to a project with several packages and/or bundles.

Classes are renamed across the whole project.

(to be defined)

Notes for myself for changes in the next version.

  • Class renamings. A project scoped operation where all references to a class must be rewritten
  • multiple rewrites. Serveral rewrites should be applied to one method source
  • Dialect namespaces. Each dialect should have it's own namespace so that target code loads without warnings
  • Usage detection. For recuring transformations, I want to find out which rules are not used anymore
  • Define classes first. References to unloaded classes cause an error in Gemstone. Allows forward references.
  • smalltalktransformdocumentation.txt
  • Last modified: 2023/04/13 18:24
  • by christian