[slime-devel] more stuff

Luke Gorrie luke at bluetail.com
Mon Oct 20 10:09:26 UTC 2003


Very nice cleanup and extension work Helmut :-)

I wonder - now that we have both input and output redirected to Emacs,
would writing an `ielm'-style top-level just be a matter of some elisp

I've hacked the connection setup to run asynchronously, so M-x slime
will try to connect in the background using a timer to retry. There's
a new command `slime-disconnect' that will abort connection retrying
or, if already connected, close the connection. This makes it easier
to see what's going on and do manual fixes if e.g. the backend fails
to compile or something.

Now I'm wondering about the next steps in the backend
integration/factoring. There are two things I'd like to do:

Have a well-defined interface that the backend-specific code
implements. Perhaps a `defcallback' macro that we use in swank.lisp
where we can put a docstring and possibly some assertions about return
values. We should also detect/warn for unimplemented backend
functions. This seems pretty easy.

The other idea is not so clear, but I would like to factor all of the
protocol-related code that sends and receives messages into common
code. This is to make the protocol hackable without modifying/breaking
all backends, and to get protocol invariants (like proper nesting of
:debug and :debug-return) taken care of in one place.

I'm also now leaning towards Helmut's idea of using send/receive
asynchronous message passing as the lowest layer of
communication. Currently we have a hybrid where Emacs always talks to
Lisp with RPC but Lisp can send state-specific asynchronous messages
to Emacs. This is a bit funky in some cases, e.g. invoking a restart
from Emacs would be better done as an asynchronous message than as an
RPC since we don't want a result.

There's currently a bug in the protocol that you can see when trying
to invoke restarts. In some cases the backends will want to send
(:debug-condition <string>) messages to Emacs, but the Elisp code
doesn't understand those messages anymore (due to my last
"improvements"). In the automaton it would be nice to handle these
messages in the `debugging' state, but since invoking a restart is
done by RPC we end up in the `evaluating' state waiting for a
result. So it seems nicer to control the debugger with asynchronous
messages instead of RPCs.

So, um, that's pretty vague. Mostly written to publicly recant my
previous suggestion that RPC is the way to go for everything :-)

One thing I did hacking-wise is to add more significant detection of
protocol errors. If the Elisp code gets a message that it can't
understand in its current state, it closes the connection and pops up
a buffer with some debug info and a statement to the effect of "hey,
you've found a bug!". Currently I'm getting this trying to invoke the
`q'uit restart in the SBCL backend, due to the Elisp :debug-condition
bug mentioned above (though I'm not sure why this is hitting a
debug-condition in the first place - maybe a bug in the SBCL backend).


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