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SISC's extensible type system
=============================
SISC's extensible type system provides programmatic access to the type
information of values and provides a core set of type testing and
comparison procedures. The type system is extensible in two
ways. Firstly any new native types are recognised
automatically. Secondly, hooks are provided for Scheme-level
extensions of the type-system.
Core procedures & predicates
----------------------------
TYPE-OF <value> => <type>
Returns the type of <value>. There is no standard representation for
types, leaving type extensions free to choose a representation that
suits them most.
The procedure is equipped with an extension hook, TYPE-OF-HOOK. See
below for more details on hooks. The default implementation of TYPE-OF
returns a type based on the Java type of the internal representation
of <value>.
TYPE<= <type1> <type2> => #t/#f
Returns #f if <type1> is a sub-type of <type2>.
The predicate is equipped with an extension hook, TYPE<=-HOOK. See
below for more details on hooks. The default implementation of TYPE<=
determines sub-typing based on the inheritance relationship of the
Java types representing native types.
COMPARE-TYPES <type1> <type2> <type3>
=> equal, more-specific, less-specific
Determines the relationship of two types with respect to a
third. <type3> must be a sub-type of <type1> and <type2>. <type1> and
<type2> are first compared using TYPE<=. If that comparison indicates
that the types are disjoint (i.e. <type1> is not sub-type of <type2>,
<type2> is not a sub-type of <type1> and the types are not equal) then
additional information from <type3> is taken into account for the
comparison.
The predicate is equipped with an extension hook,
COMPARE-TYPES-HOOK that is invoked in the case the comparison of
<type1> with <type2> using TYPE<= finds the two types to be
disjoint. See below for more details on hooks. The default
implementation returns an error.
Derived procedures and predicates
---------------------------------
INSTANCE-OF? <value> <type> => #t/#f
Determines whether <value> is an instance of <type>.
This predicate obtains <value>'s type using TYPE-OF and then compares
it to <type> using TYPE<=.
TYPE= <type1> <type2> => #t/#f.
Determines whether two types are equal by comparing them twice using
TYPE<=.
TYPES<= <list types1> <list types2> => #t/#f
Determines whether all of <types1> are sub-types of <types2> by
performing a pair-wise comparison using TYPE<= until a difference is
found (in which ase #f is returned) or one (or both) of the lists has
been exhausted (in which case #t is returned).
INSTANCES-OF? <list values> <list types> => #t/#f
Determines whether all of <values> are instances of <types> by
performing a pair-wise test using INSTANCE-OF? until a test returns #f
(in which case #f is returned) or one (or both) of the lists has been
exhausted (in which case #t is returned).
TYPES= <list types1> <list types2> => #t/#f
Determines whether all of <types1> are equal to <types2> by performing
a pair-wise comparison using TYPE= until a difference is found (in
which case #f is returned) or one (or both) of the lists has been
exhausted (in which case #t is returned).
Hooks
-----
Hooks are the main mechanism by which Scheme code can extend the
default type system. The core type system procedures TYPE-OF, TYPE<=
and COMPARE-TYPES all provide such hooks. Extension takes place by
installing labelled procedures on the hook. The procedures are called
with a "next" procedure as the first argument and all the arguments of
the call to the hook-providing procedures as the remaining arguments.
Example:
(type-of-hook 'record
(lambda (next o)
(if (record? o)
(record-type o)
(next o))))
Installing a procedure with a label of an already installed procedure
replaces the latter with the former.
Typically the installed procedure first determines whether it is
applicable, i.e. is capable of performing the requested comparison
etc. If not it calls the "next" procedure, which invokes the next hook
or, if no further hooks exist, the default implementation of the
hooked procedure.
Standard Types
--------------
The type system pre-defines bindings for the native types
corresponding to all the data types defined in R5RS. One notable
exception is that pairs and null are combined into a <list> type.
We also define a <value> type that is the base type of all SISC
values, i.e. all SISC values are instances of <value> and all types
are sub-types of <value>.
The representations of other native types can be obtained using
MAKE-TYPE <java-class-name> => <native-type>
Constructs a type representing a built-in type. The <java-class-name>
must be a symbol and it must denote a Java class that is a sub-class
of sisc.data.Value, the base of the SISC value type hierarchy.
Examples
--------
(import type-system)
(type<= <number> <value>) ;=> #t
(type<= <value> <number>) ;=> #f
(instance-of? 1 <number>) ;=> #t
(instance-of? 1 <value>) ;=> #t
(instance-of? 1 <symbol>) ;=> #f
(eq? (type-of 1) <number>) ;=> #t
(import record)
(define-struct foo (x))
(define-struct bar (x))
(define f (make-foo 1))
(define b (make-bar 1))
(instance-of? f foo) ;=> #t
(instance-of? f <record>) ;=> #t
(instance-of? f <value>) ;=> #t
(instance-of? b foo) ;=> #f
(type<= foo <record>) ;=> #t
(type<= foo <value>) ;=> #t
(type<= foo bar) ;=> #f
What's Changed?
---------------
The major changes in the type system since the previous version are as
follows:
* The code and module have been disentangled from that of generic
procedures, the object system and Java FFI.
* The type of a Scheme value is distinct from the type obtained by S2J
for the Java object representing the value, i.e. the type system
clearly distinguishes between Scheme values/types and Java
values/types.
* The type system is extensible at both the native (Java) and Scheme
level.
* There is no longer a built-in meta type. It is however easy to add
using the new extension mechanism.
* The canonical super type, i.e. the super type of everything, is no
longer called <top> but <value>. There no longer is a canonical sub
type <bot>.
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