We want to make the GNU development tools even better. Right now,
programmers can choose between many excellent compilers, text editors and
programming languages. We want to supplement these choices with an advanced
tool for building complex applications.

Ideally, it would have the following features. We won’t achieve this
vision any time soon, but it will give us inspiration during those
long sessions of coding.

  • A command-line compiler. There’s no point in throwing
    tradition out the window, is there? A command-line compiler allows
    Makefiles to work gracefully, and is preferred by many developers.
  • A graphical IDE. Other people like a good, integrated
    environment. This should include online help, a database of definitions and
    cross references, a debugger and an interface builder. It should be
    possible to use an external text editor for the actual coding (perhaps via
    CORBA). Fortunately, Dylan was designed with intent of having such tools
    (see the screenshots of Apple Dylan), and d2c
    is already modularized in most of the right places.

    The IDE should also be modular and extensible. We want to allow people
    to add a database interface builder or duplicate the features
    of Source Navigator.

  • Tools for novice and expert developers. A good
    environment should be usable by both novice developers (folks who just want
    to build a simple database front end) and hardcore hackers (people who want
    to build a non-linear video editor in a mixture of C and Dylan, for
  • An open source license. We use a license
    similar to that used by X11. It contains no significant restrictions,
    but disclaims all warranties. Some of the components we distribute
    were obtained from Functional Objects and are distributed under the LGPL.
  • Support for important free software. Gwydion
    Dylan must play nicely with all the standard GNU and Unix tools. Even if it
    doesn’t support a particular program, it must be a good citizen in a
    standard GNU environment.
  • Desktop integration. Gwydion Dylan should also work
    well with modern free desktops. This means supporting a popular widget set
    (Gtk+), and allowing applications written in Dylan to implement important
    Gnome and KDE protocols with as little effort as possible.
  • DUIM. The Dylan User Interface Manager (DUIM)
    is a portable GUI toolkit designed by Harlequin/Functional Objects. We
    have begun to adapt DUIM using a Gtk+ backend (since the two libraries
    have a very similar design), though some work remains to be done.
  • Seamless support for C libraries. Most Unix
    libraries are written in C, and it would be impossible (and undesirable) to
    duplicate them all in Dylan. It should be just as easy to use a C library
    from Dylan as it is from C.
  • Portability to other platforms. Gwydion Dylan
    should remain a portable compiler, and standard libraries should not make
    assumptions which would prevent a third party from porting them to Rhapsody
    or the BeOS.

Related Information

For more background, you might want to check out the goals of other
Dylan implementors:

The Gwydion Group’s original white paper
The Gwydion Group at CMU had a very ambitious vision for Gwydion
Dylan. This paper from 1993 explains what they originally intended to