Next section: Foreword to the First Edition
About this ManualWhen the first Dylan manual was published in 1992, it was met with an enthusiastic response. People agreed with our goals for the language, and many people suggested ways in which Dylan could better meet its goals.
Since that time, an expanded group of engineers both inside and outside Apple have worked to refine the language design in response to those suggestions. The language has become simpler and more efficient. Loose ends have been tied up. The language has been given a new syntax. Throughout this process, changes to the language design have been published electronically in the form of design notes.
With the exception of the macro system, the current round of language design is now essentially complete. A new Dylan language reference will be published early in 1995. The new book will be the definitive specification of the Dylan language. Apple is working closely with other Dylan implementors to ensure that the new book will not be Apple-specific, but will apply equally to all Dylan implementations.
We realize that many people want to read about Dylan now! For that reason, to fill the gap until the new book is published, we've put together the Dylan Interim Reference Manual. This document is an interim user reference for the Dylan language. It combines the original Dylan book, the previously published design notes, and additional previously unpublished design decisions as of May 1994.
Our goal for this interim document has been to get something useful out to you as soon as possible, not to spend time refining it, so it's important to understand the limitations of this document:
* This is a very rough document, intended only as a temporary user reference until the new Dylan book is ready. The writing and formatting are messy in places. We hope you'll excuse us.
* This document is not intended as a language specification. There are places where it is imprecise or inconsistent. We hope you will understand that these are shortcomings of this document, and not of the language design as a whole.
* This document is not intended as a tutorial or introduction to Dylan programming. We assume that you are already somewhat familiar with object oriented programming. You will often need to devise your own examples and flip back and forth through the manual as you read.
Despite these limitations, we think that this document will be useful to people who want to learn about Dylan, especially to those people who are using an early Dylan implementation. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!