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Subject: Flavors, cntd
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@chapter(Generic Operations in Lisp)
@index(generic operations in lisp)

How do we implement message passing in Lisp?  By convention, objects
that receive messages are always @i(functional) objects (that is, you
can apply them to arguments), and a message is sent to an object by
calling that object as a function, passing the name of the message as
the first argument, and the arguments of the message as the rest of the
arguments.  Message names are represented by symbols; normally these
symbols are in the keyword package  since messages are
a protocol for communication between different programs, which may
reside in different packages.  So if we have a variable @t(my-ship)
whose value is an object of type @t(ship), and we want to know its
@i(x) position, we send it a message as follows:

(funcall my-ship ':x-position)

This form returns the @i(x) position as its returned value.  To set the
ship's @i(x) position to @t(3.0), we send it a message like this:

(funcall my-ship ':set-x-position 3.0)

It should be stressed that no new features are added to Lisp for message
sending; we simply define a convention on the way objects take
arguments.  The convention says that an object accepts messages by
always interpreting its first argument as a message name.  The object
must consider this message name, find the function which is the method
for that message name, and invoke that function.

This raises the question of how message receiving works.  The object
must somehow find the right method for the message it is sent.
Furthermore, the object now has to be callable as a function; objects
can't just be @t(defstructs) any more, since those aren't functions.  But
the structure defined by @t(defstruct) was doing something useful: it
was holding the instance variables (the internal state) of the object.
We need a function with internal state; that is, we need a coroutine.

Of the features presented so far, the most appropriate
is the closure.  A message-receiving object could be
implemented as a closure over a set of instance variables.  The function
inside the closure would have a big @t(selectq) form to dispatch on its
first argument. 

While using closures does work, it has several serious problems.  The main
problem is that in order to add a new operation to a system, it is necessary
to modify a lot of code; you have to find all the types that understand that
operation, and add a new clause to the @t(selectq).  The problem with this is
that you cannot textually separate the implementation of your new operation
from the rest of the system; the methods must be interleaved with the other
operations for the type.  Adding a new operation should only require
@i(adding) Lisp code; it should not require @i(modifying) Lisp code.

The conventional way of making generic operations is to have a procedure
for each operation, which has a big @t(selectq) for all the types; this
means you have to modify code to add a type.  The way described above is
to have a procedure for each type, which has a big @t(selectq) for all
the operations; this means you have to modify code to add an operation.
Neither of these has the desired property that extending the system
should only require adding code, rather than modifying code.

Closures are also somewhat clumsy and crude.  A far more streamlined,
convenient, and powerful system for creating message-receiving objects
exists; it is called the @i(Flavor) mechanism.  With flavors, you can add a
new method simply by adding code, without modifying anything.  Furthermore,
many common and useful things to do are very easy to do with flavors.  The
rest of this chapter describes flavors.

@chapter(Simple Use of Flavors)

A @i(flavor), in its simplest form, is a definition of an abstract type.
New flavors are created with the @t(defflavor) special form, and
methods of the flavor are created with the @t(defmethod) special form.
New instances of a flavor are created with the @t(make-instance)
function.  This section explains simple uses of these forms.

For an example of a simple use of flavors, here is how the @t(ship)
example above would be implemented.

(defflavor ship (x-position y-position 
                 x-velocity y-velocity mass)

(defmethod (ship :speed) ()
  (sqrt (+ (^ x-velocity 2)
           (^ y-velocity 2))))

(defmethod (ship :direction) ()
  (atan y-velocity x-velocity))

The code above creates a new flavor.  The first subform of the
@t(defflavor) is @t(ship), which is the name of the new flavor.  Next
is the list of instance variables; they are the five that should be
familiar by now.  The next subform is something we will get to later.
The rest of the subforms are the body of the @t(defflavor), and each
one specifies an option about this flavor.  In our example, there is
only one option, namely @t(:gettable-instance-variables).  This means
that for each instance variable, a method should automatically be
generated to return the value of that instance variable.  The name of
the message is a symbol with the same name as the instance variable, but
interned on the keyword package.  Thus, methods are created to handle
the messages @t(:x-position), @t(:y-position), and so on.

Each of the two @t(defmethod) forms adds a method to the flavor.  The
first one adds a handler to the flavor @t(ship) for messages named
@t(:speed).  The second subform is the lambda-list, and the rest is the
body of the function that handles the @t(:speed) message.  The body can
refer to or set any instance variables of the flavor, the same as it can
with local variables or special variables.  When any instance of the
@t(ship) flavor is invoked with a first argument of @t(:direction), the
body of the second @t(defmethod) will be evaluated in an environment in
which the instance variables of @t(ship) refer to the instance variables
of this instance (the one to which the message was sent).  So when the
arguments of @t(atan) are evaluated, the values of instance variables of
the object to which the message was sent will be used as the arguments.
@t(atan) will be invoked, and the result it returns will be returned by
the instance itself.

Now we have seen how to create a new abstract type: a new flavor.  Every
instance of this flavor will have the five instance variables named in
the @t(defflavor) form, and the seven methods we have seen (five that
were automatically generated because of the
@t(:gettable-instance-variables) option, and two that we wrote
ourselves).  The way to create an instance of our new flavor is with the
@t(make-instance) function.  Here is how it could be used:

(setq my-ship (make-instance 'ship))

This will return an object whose printed representation is:

#<SHIP 1213731>

(Of course, the value of the magic number will vary; it is not
interesting anyway.)  The argument to @t(make-instance) is,
as you can see, the name of the flavor to be instantiated.  Additional
arguments, not used here, are @i(init options), that is, commands
to the flavor of which we are making an instance, selecting optional
features.  This will be discussed more in a moment.

Examination of the flavor we have defined shows that it is quite
useless as it stands, since there is no way to set any of the
parameters.  We can fix this up easily, by putting the
@t(:settable-instance-variables) option into the @t(defflavor) form.
This option tells @t(defflavor) to generate methods for messages named
@t(:set-x-position), @t(:set-y-position), and so on; each such method
takes one argument, and sets the corresponding instance variable to the
given value.

Another option we can add to the @t(defflavor) is
@t(:initable-instance-variables), to allow us to initialize the values
of the instance variables when an instance is first created.
@t(:initable-instance-variables) does not create any methods; instead,
it makes @i(initialization keywords) named @t(:x-position),
@t(:y-position), etc., that can be used as init-option arguments to
@t(make-instance) to initialize the corresponding instance variables.
The set of init options are sometimes called the @i(init-plist) because
they are like a property list.

Here is the improved @t(defflavor):
(defflavor ship (x-position y-position
                 x-velocity y-velocity mass) 

All we have to do is evaluate this new @t(defflavor), and the existing
flavor definition will be updated and now include the new methods and
initialization options.  In fact, the instance we generated a while ago
will now be able to accept these new messages!  We can set the mass of
the ship we created by evaluating
(funcall my-ship ':set-mass 3.0)
and the @t(mass) instance variable of @t(my-ship) will properly get set
to @t(3.0).  If you want to play around with flavors, it is useful
to know that @t(describe) of an instance tells you the flavor of the
instance and the values of its instance variables.  If we were to evaluate
@t((describe my-ship)) at this point, the following would be printed:

#<SHIP 13731210>, an object of flavor SHIP,
 has instance variable values:
	X-POSITION:         unbound
	Y-POSITION:         unbound
	X-VELOCITY:         unbound
	Y-VELOCITY:         unbound
	MASS:               3.0

Now that the instance variables are "initable", we can create another
ship and initialize some of the instance variables using the init-plist.
Let's do that and @t(describe) the result:

(setq her-ship (make-instance 'ship ':x-position 0.0
			            ':y-position 2.0
				    ':mass 3.5))
		==> #<SHIP 13756521>

(describe her-ship)
#<SHIP 13756521>, an object of flavor SHIP,
 has instance variable values:
	X-POSITION:         0.0
	Y-POSITION:         2.0
	X-VELOCITY:         unbound
	Y-VELOCITY:         unbound
	MASS:               3.5

A flavor can also establish default initial values for instance
variables.  These default values are used when a new instance is created
if the values are not initialized any other way.  The syntax for
specifying a default initial value is to replace the name of the
instance variable by a list, whose first element is the name and whose
second is a form to evaluate to produce the default initial value.  For

(defvar *default-x-velocity* 2.0)
(defvar *default-y-velocity* 3.0)

(defflavor ship ((x-position 0.0)
		 (y-position 0.0)
		 (x-velocity *default-x-velocity*)
		 (y-velocity *default-y-velocity*)

(setq another-ship (make-instance 'ship ':x-position 3.4))

(describe another-ship)
#<SHIP 14563643>, an object of flavor SHIP,
 has instance variable values:
	X-POSITION:         3.4
	Y-POSITION:         0.0
	X-VELOCITY:         2.0
	Y-VELOCITY:         3.0
	MASS:               unbound

@t(x-position) was initialized explicitly, so the default was ignored.
@t(y-position) was initialized from the default value, which was
@t(0.0).  The two velocity instance variables were initialized from
their default values, which came from two global variables.  @t(mass)
was not explicitly initialized and did not have a default
initialization, so it was left unbound.

There are many other options that can be used in @t(defflavor), and the
init options can be used more flexibly than just to initialize instance
variables; full details are given later in this chapter.  But even with
the small set of features we have seen so far, it is easy to write
object-oriented programs.

@chapter(Mixing Flavors)@index(mixing flavors)

Now we have a system for defining message-receiving objects so that we
can have generic operations.  If we want to create a new type called
@t(meteor) that would accept the same generic operations as @t(ship), we
could simply write another @t(defflavor) and two more @t(defmethods)
that looked just like those of @t(ship), and then meteors and ships
would both accept the same operations.  @t(ship) would have some
more instance variables for holding attributes specific to ships,
and some more methods for operations that are not generic, but
are only defined for ships; the same would be true of @t(meteor).

However, this would be a a wasteful thing to do.  The same code has to
be repeated in several places, and several instance variables have to be
repeated.  The code now needs to be maintained in many places, which is
always undesirable.  The power of flavors (and the name "flavors") comes
from the ability to mix several flavors and get a new flavor.  Since the
functionality of @t(ship) and @t(meteor) partially overlap, we can take
the common functionality and move it into its own flavor, which might be
called @t(moving-object).  We would define @t(moving-object) the same
way as we defined @t(ship) in the previous section.  Then, @t(ship) and
@t(meteor) could be defined like this:

(defflavor ship (engine-power number-of-passengers name) 

(defflavor meteor (percent-iron) (moving-object)

These @t(defflavor) forms use the second subform, which we ignored
previously.  The second subform is a list of flavors to be combined to
form the new flavor; such flavors are called @i(components).
Concentrating on @t(ship) for a moment (analogous things are true of
@t(meteor)), we see that it has exactly one component flavor:
@t(moving-object).  It also has a list of instance variables, which
includes only the ship-specific instance variables and not the ones that
it shares with @t(meteor).  By incorporating @t(moving-object), the @t(ship)
flavor acquires all of its instance variables, and so need not name them
again.  It also acquires all of @t(moving-object)'s methods, too.  So
with the new definition, @t(ship) instances will still accept the
@t(:x-velocity) and @t(:speed) messages, and they will do the same thing.
However, the @t(:engine-power) message will also be understood (and will
return the value of the @t(engine-power) instance variable).

What we have done here is to take an abstract type, @t(moving-object),
and build two more specialized and powerful abstract types on top of it.
Any ship or meteor can do anything a moving object can do, and each also
has its own specific abilities.  This kind of building can continue; we
could define a flavor called @t(ship-with-passenger) that was built on
top of @t(ship), and it would inherit all of @t(moving-object)'s
instance variables and methods as well as @t(ship)'s instance variables
and methods.  Furthermore, the second subform of @t(defflavor) can be a
list of several components, meaning that the new flavor should combine
all the instance variables and methods of all the flavors in the list,
as well as the ones @i(those) flavors are built on, and so on.  All the
components taken together form a big tree of flavors.  A flavor is built
from its components, its components' components, and so on.  We
sometimes use the term "components" to mean the immediate components
(the ones listed in the @t(defflavor)), and sometimes to mean all the
components (including the components of the immediate components and so
on).  (Actually, it is not strictly a tree, since some flavors might be
components through more than one path.  It is really a directed graph;
it can even be cyclic.)

The order in which the components are combined to form a flavor is
important.  The tree of flavors is turned into an ordered list by
performing a @i(top-down, depth-first) walk of the tree, including non-terminal nodes
@i(before) the subtrees they head, and eliminating duplicates.  For example,
if @t(flavor-1)'s immediate components are @t(flavor-2) and @t(flavor-3),
and @t(flavor-2)'s components are @t(flavor-4) and @t(flavor-5), and
@t(flavor-3)'s component was @t(flavor-4), then
the complete list of components of @t(flavor-1) would be:

@t(flavor-1), @t(flavor-2), @t(flavor-4), @t(flavor-5), @t(flavor-3)

The flavors earlier in this list are the more specific, less basic ones;
in our example, @t(ship-with-passengers) would be first in the list,
followed by @t(ship), followed by @t(moving-object).  A flavor is always
the first in the list of its own components.  Notice that @t(flavor-4)
does not appear twice in this list.  Only the first occurrence of a
flavor appears; duplicates are removed.  (The elimination of duplicates
is done during the walk; if there is a cycle in the directed graph, it
will not cause a non-terminating computation.)

The set of instance variables for the new flavor is the union of all the
sets of instance variables in all the component flavors.  If both
@t(flavor-2) and @t(flavor-3) have instance variables named @t(foo),
then @t(flavor-1) will have an instance variable named @t(foo), and any
methods that refer to @t(foo) will refer to this same instance variable.
Thus different components of a flavor can communicate with one another
using shared instance variables.  (Typically, only one component ever
sets the variable, and the others only look at it.)  The default initial
value for an instance variable comes from the first component flavor to
specify one.

The way the methods of the components are combined is the heart of the
flavor system.  When a flavor is defined, a single function, called a
@i(combined method), is constructed for each message supported by the
flavor.  This function is constructed out of all the methods for that
message from all the components of the flavor.  There are many different
ways that methods can be combined; these can be selected by the user
when a flavor is defined.  The user can also create new forms of

There are several kinds of methods, but
so far, the only kinds of methods we have seen are @i(primary) methods.
The default way primary methods are combined is that all but the
earliest one provided are ignored.  In other words, the combined method
is simply the primary method of the first flavor to provide a primary
method.  What this means is that if you are starting with a flavor
@t(foo) and building a flavor @t(bar) on top of it, then you can
override @t(foo)'s method for a message by providing your own method.
Your method will be called, and @t(foo)'s will never be called.

Simple overriding is often useful; if you want to make a new flavor
@t(bar) that is just like @t(foo) except that it reacts completely
differently to a few messages, then this will work.  However, often you
don't want to completely override the base flavor's (@t(foo)'s) method;
sometimes you want to add some extra things to be done.  This is where
combination of methods is used.

@index(daemon methods)
The usual way methods are combined is that one flavor provides a primary
method, and other flavors provide @i(daemon methods).  The idea
is that the primary method is "in charge" of the main business of
handling the message, but other flavors just want to keep informed
that the message was sent, or just want to do the part of the operation
associated with their own area of responsibility.

When methods are combined, a single primary method is found; it comes
from the first component flavor that has one.  Any primary methods
belonging to later component flavors are ignored.  This is just
what we saw above; @t(bar) could override @t(foo)'s primary method
by providing its own primary method.

However, you can define other kinds of methods.  In particular, you can define
@i(daemon) methods.  They come in two kinds, @i(before) and @i(after).  There is
a special syntax in @t(defmethod) for defining such methods.  Here is an example
of the syntax.  To give the @t(ship) flavor an after-daemon method for the
@t(:speed) message, the following syntax would be used:

(defmethod (ship :after :speed) ()

Now, when a message is sent, it is handled by a new function called the
@i(combined) method.  The combined method first calls all of the before daemons,
then the primary method, then all the after daemons.  Each method is passed the
same arguments that the combined method was given.  The returned values from the
combined method are the values returned by the primary method; any values
returned from the daemons are ignored.  Before-daemons are called in the order
that flavors are combined, while after-daemons are called in the reverse order.
In other words, if you build @t(bar) on top of @t(foo), then @t(bar)'s
before-daemons will run before any of those in @t(foo), and @t(bar)'s
after-daemons will run after any of those in @t(foo).

The reason for this order is to keep the modularity order correct.  If
we create @t(flavor-1) built on @t(flavor-2); then it should not matter
what @t(flavor-2) is built out of.  Our new before-daemons go before all
methods of @t(flavor-2), and our new after-daemons go after all methods of
@t(flavor-2).  Note that if you have no daemons, this reduces to the
form of combination described above.  The most recently added component
flavor is the highest level of abstraction; you build a higher-level
object on top of a lower-level object by adding new components to the
front.  The syntax for defining daemon methods can be found in the
description of @t(defmethod) below.

To make this a bit more clear, let's consider a simple example that is
easy to play with: the @t(:print-self) method.  The Lisp printer
(i.e@. the @t(print) function) prints instances of flavors by sending
them @t(:print-self) messages.  The first argument to the
@t(:print-self) message is a stream (we can ignore the others for now),
and the receiver of the message is supposed to print its printed
representation on the stream.  In the @t(ship) example above, the reason
that instances of the @t(ship) flavor printed the way they did is because
the @t(ship) flavor was actually built on top of a very basic flavor called
@t(vanilla-flavor)@index(vanilla-flavor); this component is provided
automatically by @t(defflavor).  It was @t(vanilla-flavor)'s
@t(:print-self) method that was doing the printing.  Now, if we give
@t(ship) its own primary method for the @t(:print-self) message, then
that method will take over the job of printing completely;
@t(vanilla-flavor)'s method will not be called at all.  However, if we
give @t(ship) a before-daemon method for the @t(:print-self) message,
then it will get invoked before the @t(vanilla-flavor) message, and so
whatever it prints will appear before what @t(vanilla-flavor) prints.
So we can use before-daemons to add prefixes to a printed
representation; similarly, after-daemons can add suffixes.

There are other ways to combine methods besides daemons, but this way is
the most common.  The more advanced ways of combining methods are explained
in a later section on method-combination.  The @t(vanilla-flavor) and what
it does for you are also explained later in a section on the vanilla

@chapter(The Instance Datatype)@index(Instance)
Various parts of what are considered Flavors require hooks into the system.
Portable code should attempt not to use any of the features mentioned in this
section, with the exception of :print-self, which can be portably implemented
using defstruct.

One traditional hook is into the type system.  (@t(type-of) @i(instance))
returns the flavor that the instance was made from.  @t(typep) @i(instance
flavor)) returns T iff the instance's flavor has the flavor as a component.
Lastly, (@t(instancep) @i(instance)) <=> (@t(typep) @i(instance) 'instance)
returns T.

Various lisp operations on an instance should simply send a message to the
object.  It has been proposed that the system should only send the names of the
functions, rather than any keyworded symbol, but vanilla-flavor could
translate.  Describe of an instance may send a :describe message to
the instance.  More esoteric hooks would be having the system send a :fasd-form
or some such message to get a form that, when loaded and evaluated, would
make a copy of the object; and having eval of an instance send an EVAL message
to the object.

@chapter(Flavor Functions)@index(flavor functions)
This is a list of the names of all the flavors that have ever 
been @t(defflavor)ed.

This is a list of all flavors which have been referred to but not defined.

If this variable is non-@t(nil), combined methods are automatically compiled.

A stack (implemented as a vector) of unclean flavor names; that is, those
which need to be updated.

@t(defflavor) @i(name) ({@i(var)}*) ({@i(flavor)}*) {@i(option)}*@>[Macro]@*
@i(Flavor-name) is a symbol which serves to name this flavor.  Traditionally
the flavor definition is a defstruct on the @t(flavor) property of the name.

@t((typep @i(obj))), where @i(obj) is an instance of the flavor named
@i(flavor-name), will return the symbol @i(flavor-name).
@t((typep @i(obj) @i(flavor-name))) is @t(t) if @i(obj) is an instance of a
flavor, one of whose components (possibly itself) is @i(flavor-name).

@i(var1), @i(var2), etc. are the names of the instance-variables
containing the local state for this flavor.  A list of the name of an
instance-variable and a default initialization form is also acceptable;
the initialization form will be evaluated when an instance of
the flavor is created if no other initial value for
the variable is obtained.  If no initialization is specified, the variable
will remain unbound.

@i(flav1), @i(flav2), etc. are the names of the component flavors out of
which this flavor is built.  The features of those flavors are inherited
as described previously.

@i(opt1), @i(opt2), etc. are options; each option may be either a
keyword symbol or a list of a keyword symbol and arguments.  The options
to @t(defflavor) are described in the section on defflavor-options.

@t(defmethod) (@i(name method-type message)) @i(lambda-list) {@i(form)}*@>[Macro]@*
Defines a method, that is, a function to handle a particular message sent to an
instance of a particular flavor.  @i(Flavor-name) is a symbol which is the name
of the flavor which is to receive the method.  @i(Method-type) is a keyword
symbol for the type of method; it is omitted when you are defining a primary
method, which is the usual case.  @i(Message) is a keyword symbol which names
the message to be handled.

The meaning of the @i(method-type) depends on what kind of method-combination
is declared for this message.  For instance, for daemons @t(:before) and
@t(:after) are allowed.  See the section on method combination for a complete
description of method types and the way methods are combined.

@i(Lambda-list) describes the arguments and "aux variables" of the function;
the first argument to the method, which is the message keyword, is
automatically handled, and so it is not included in the @i(lambda-list).
@i(form1), @i(form2), etc. are the function body; the value of the last form is

If you redefine a method that is already defined, the old definition is
replaced by the new one.  Given a flavor, a message name, and a method
type, there can only be one function, so if you define a @t(:before)
daemon method for the @t(foo) flavor to handle the @t(:bar) message,
then you replace the previous before-daemon; however, you do not affect
the primary method or methods of any other type, message name or flavor.

@t(make-instance) @i(name) {@i(init-option value)}@>[Function]@*
This creates and returns an instance of the specified flavor.  Arguments
after the first are alternating init-option keywords and arguments to those
keywords.  These options are used to initialize instance variables and to
select arbitrary options, as described above.  If the flavor supports the
@t(:init) message, it is sent to the newly-created object with one argument,
the init-plist.  This is a disembodied property-list containing the
init-options specified and those defaulted from the flavor's

@t(send) @i(object message-name) &rest @i(arguments)@>[Function]@* 
Finds the appropriate handler for the message and invokes it with the given
arguments, and some additiona implementation-dependent arguments.

@t(defwrapper) (@i(flavor message)) (({@i(argname)}*) . @i(bodyname)) . @i(body)@>[Macro]@*
This is hairy and if you don't understand it you should skip it.

Sometimes the way the flavor system combines the methods of different flavors
(the daemon system) is not powerful enough.  In that case @t(defwrapper) can
be used to define a macro which expands into code which is wrapped around the
invocation of the methods.  This is best explained by an example; suppose you
needed a lock locked during the processing of the @t(:foo) message to the
@t(bar) flavor, which takes two arguments, and you have a @t(lock-frobboz)
special-form which knows how to lock the lock (presumably it generates an
@t(unwind-protect)).  @t(lock-frobboz) needs to see the first argument to the
message; perhaps that tells it what sort of operation is going to be
performed (read or write).
(defwrapper (bar :foo) ((arg1 arg2) . body)
  `(lock-frobboz (self arg1)
     . ,body))
The use of the @t(body) macro-argument prevents the @t(defwrapper)ed
macro from knowing the exact implementation and allows several @t(defwrapper)s
from different flavors to be combined properly.

Note well that the argument variables, @t(arg1) and @t(arg2), are not
referenced with commas before them.  These may look like @t(defmacro)
"argument" variables, but they are not.  Those variables are not bound at the
time the @t(defwrapper)-defined macro is expanded and the back-quoting is
done; rather the result of that macro-expansion and back-quoting is code
which, when a message is sent, will bind those variables to the arguments in
the message as local variables of the combined method.

Consider another example.  Suppose you thought you wanted a @t(:before) daemon,
but found that if the argument was @t(nil) you needed to return from processing
the message immediately, without executing the primary method.  You could write
a wrapper such as
(defwrapper (bar :foo) ((arg1) . body)
  `(cond ((null arg1))		;Do nothing if arg1 is nil
	 (t @i(before-code)
	    . ,body)))

Suppose you need a variable for communication among the daemons for a
particular message; perhaps the @t(:after) daemons need to know what the
primary method did, and it is something that cannot be easily deduced from
just the arguments.  You might use an instance variable for this, or you
might create a special variable which is bound during the processing of the
message and used free by the methods.
(defvar *communication*)
(defwrapper (bar :foo) (ignore . body)
  `(let ((*communication* nil))
     . ,body))

Similarly you might want a wrapper which puts a @t(*catch) around the
processing of a message so that any one of the methods could throw out in the
event of an unexpected condition.

Like daemon methods, wrappers work in outside-in order; when you add a
@t(defwrapper) to a flavor built on other flavors, the new wrapper
is placed outside any wrappers of the component flavors.  However,
@i(all) wrappers happen before @i(any) daemons happen.  When the combined
method is built, the calls to the before-daemon methods, primary methods,
and after-daemon methods are all placed together, and then the wrappers
are wrapped around them.  Thus, if a component flavor defines a wrapper,
methods added by new flavors will execute within that wrapper's context.

@t(defwhopper) (@i(flavor [type] message)) @i(arglist . body)@>[Special Form]@*
@i(Arglist) is the same as the argument list for any method
handling @i(message).  The default type is :whopper.

Whoppers are to functions as wrappers are to macros.  Code for wrappers might
be duplicated many times, and so whoppers were devised to save space.  Note
that to do this, the whopper code is a function, and so must not only be
called, but it must call a continuation function, for a net cost of two
function calls. 

Whoppers have three forms that they may use in order to
continue the combined method:

@t(continue-whopper) &rest @i(args)@>[Macro]@*
Calls the methods for the message that the whopper is handling.  @i(Args)
is the list of arguments sent.  This only works inside a whopper.  The
whopper may change the arguments rather than passing those it receives

@t(lexpr-continue-whopper) &rest @i(args)@>[Macro]@*
Uses apply instead of funcall to call the continuation function.

This performs a whopper continuation and simply passes the arguments
it gets all on the the methods.  This avoids consing a rest argument.

Whoppers may be considered a kind of wrapper, for the purposes of ordering.
If a flavor defines both a wrapper and a whopper, though, the wrapper goes
outside the whopper.

@t(undefmethod) (@i(flavor [type] message))@index(undefemethod)@>[Macro]
Generic undefining form.  To undefine a wrapper, use it with :wrapper as the
method type.  For whoppers, use type :whopper.

When a message is sent to an object, the variable @t(self) is automatically
bound to that object, for the benefit of methods which want to manipulate
the object itself (as opposed to its instance variables).  Note that this
is a lexical variable, not a special.

@t(recompile-flavor) @i(name) &optional @i(message) (@i(do-dependents) @b(t))@*
Used to recalculate the combined methods for a flavor.  Generally this is done
for you automatically, but if a user macro or other such information unknown to
the system changes, you may want to recalculate the combined methods
explicitly.  It's also possible that the system may miss a wrapper change if it
just hashes the body, in which case you'll have to do this manually.
@t(recompile-flavor) only affects flavors that have already been compiled.
Typically this means it affects flavors that have been instantiated,
but does not bother with mixins.

@t(compile-flavor) @i(flavor)@>[Function]@*@index(compile-flavor)
Prepares the named flavor for instantiation; mainly, this means it calculates
the combined methods for the flavor.

@t(compiler-compile-flavors) @b(&rest) @i(flavors) @>[Macro]@*
When placed in a file that defines some instantiable (or abstract) flavors,
includes the code for the combined methods.  It also makes sure that everything
referred to by the combined method is present in the loadtime environment
(assuming the same flavor structure).  Also, when the @t(sfasl) file is loaded,
all the other structures required for instantiation will get generated.
flavor) will get generated.

This means that the combined methods get compiled at compile time, and
the data structures get generated at load time, rather than both things
happening at run time.  This is a very good thing to use, since the
need to invoke the compiler at run-time makes programs that use flavors
slow the first time they are run.  (The compiler will still be called if
incompatible changes have been made, such as addition or deletion of
methods that must be called by a combined method.)

You should only use @t(compiler-compile-flavors) for flavors that are
going to be instantiated.  For a flavor that will never be instantiated
(that is, a flavor that only serves to be a component of other flavors
that actually do get instantiated), it is a complete waste of time,
except in the unusual case where those other flavors can all inherit
the combined methods of this flavor instead of each one having its
own copy of a combined method which happens to be identical to the

The @t(compiler-compile-flavors) forms should be compiled after all of
the information needed to create the combined methods is available.  You
should put these forms after all of the definitions of all relevant
flavors, wrappers, and methods of all components of the flavors mentioned.

@t(get-handler-for object) @i(message)@>[Function]@index(get-handler-for)
Given an object and a message, will return that object's method for that
message, or @t(nil) if it has none.  When @i(object) is an instance of
a flavor, this function can be useful to find which of that flavor's
components supplies the method.  This is only an informational device.

@t(flavor-allowed-init-keywords) @i(flavor)@>[Function]@*
Returns a list of all symbols that are valid init options for @i(flavor),
sorted alphabetically. 

@t(flavor-allows-init-keyword-p) @i(name keyword)@>[Function]@*
Returns non-@t(nil) if the flavor named @i(flavor-name) allows @i(keyword)
in the init options when it is instantiated, or @t(nil) if it does not.
The non-@t(nil) value is the name of the component flavor which contributes
the support of that keyword.

@t(symeval-in-instance) @i(instance symbol) &optional @i(no-error-p)@>[Function]@*
This function is used to find the value of an instance variable
inside a particular instance.  @i(Instance) is the instance to
be examined, and @i(symbol) is the instance variable whose value
should be returned.  If there is no such instance variable, an
error is signalled, unless @i(no-error-p) is non-@t(nil) in which
case @t(nil) is returned.

@t(set-in-instance) @i(instance symbol value)@>[Function]@*
This function is used to alter the value of an instance variable inside
a particular instance. @i(Instance) is the instance to be altered,
@i(symbol) is the instance variable whose value should be set, and
@i(value) is the new value.  If there is no such instance variable, an
error is signalled.

@chapter(Defflavor Options)
@index(defflavor options)@index(options to defflavor)

There are quite a few options to @t(defflavor).  They are all described here,
although some are for very specialized purposes and not of interest to most
users.  Each option can be written in two forms; either the keyword by
itself, or a list of the keyword and "arguments" to that keyword.

Several of these options declare things about instance variables.
These options can be given with arguments which are instance variables,
or without any arguments in which case they refer to all of the
instance variables listed at the top of the @t(defflavor).  This is
@i(not) necessarily all the instance variables of the component
flavors; just the ones mentioned in this flavor's @t(defflavor).  When
arguments are given, they must be instance variables that were listed
at the top of the @t(defflavor); otherwise they are assumed to be
misspelled and an error is signalled.  It is legal to declare things
about instance variables inherited from a component flavor, but to do
so you must list these instance variables explicitly in the instance
variable list at the top of the @t(defflavor).


@t(:Gettable-instance-variables) causes a method @b(:x) to be generated for
each instance variable @i(x).  @b(:X) gets the value of @i(x).

@t(:initable-instance-variables) creates a @b(:x) init-option for @b(make-instance)
for each instance variable @i(x).

@t(:Settable-instance-variables) causes a method @b(:set-x) to be generated for
each instance variable @i(x).  @b(:Set-x) sets the value of @i(x) to the 
supplied value.  Using this option cause @b(:gettable-instance-variables) 
and @b(:initable-instance-variables to take effect).

@t(:Init-keywords) should be a list of all keywords accepted by the 
flavor's @b(:init) handler, if it has one.  This is used for error handling;
before the @b(:init) message is sent the flavors system checks that all of
the keywords in the @i(init-plist) are either members of the init-keywords
list or initable instance variables.

@t(:default-init-plist) takes arguments which are alternating keywords and value
forms, like a
property-list.  When the flavor is instantiated, these properties and
values are put into the init-plist unless already present.  This allows one
component flavor to default an option to another component flavor.  The
value forms are only evaluated when and if they are used.  For example,
(:default-init-plist :frob-array
		     (make-array 100))
would provide a default "frob array" for any instance for which the
user did not provide one explicitly.  @t(:Default-init-plist) entries that
initialize instance variables are not added to the init-plist seen by the
@t(:init) methods.

@t(:required-instance-variables) declares that any flavor incorporating this
one which is instantiated
into an object must contain the specified instance variables.  An error
occurs if there is an attempt to instantiate a flavor that incorporates
this one if it does not have these in its set of instance variables.  Note
that this option is not one of those which checks the spelling of its
arguments in the way described at the start of this section (if it did, it
would be useless).

Required instance variables may be freely accessed by methods just like
normal instance variables.  The difference between listing instance
variables here and listing them at the front of the @t(defflavor) is
that the latter declares that this flavor "owns" those variables and
will take care of initializing them, while the former declares that this
flavor depends on those variables but that some other flavor must be
provided to manage them and whatever features they imply.

@t(:required-init-keywords) takes as arguments a list of init keywords that
must be supplied.  It is an error to try to make an instance of this flavor
or a flavor which depends on it unless you specifiy these keywords 
to @t(make-instance) or as a @t(:default-init-plist) option in some
component flavor.

@t(:required-methods) takes as arguments names of messages which any flavor
incorporating this one must handle.  An error occurs if there is an attempt
to instantiate such a flavor and it is lacking a method for one of these
messages.  Typically this option appears in the @t(defflavor) for a base
flavor.  Usually this is used when a base flavor does a @t(funcall-self) to
send itself a message that is not handled by the base flavor itself; the
idea is that the base flavor will not be instantiated alone, bui only with
other components (mixins) that do handle the message.  This keyword allows
the error of having no handler for the message be detected when the flavor
is defined (which usually means at compile time) rather than at run time.

takes as arguments a list of flavors which any flavor built on this one
must include (possibly indirectly) as components.  This is different
from listing the flavors as component flavors in that required flavors
are not specified to appear in any @i(particular) place in the component
flavors list.  If you require a flavor you allow all instance variables
which it declares to be accessed, and cause an error to be signalled when
you instantiate a flavor which doesn't include the requred flavor.

For an example of the use of required flavors, consider the @t(ship)
example given earlier, and suppose we want to define a @t(relativity-mixin)
which increases the mass dependent on the speed.  We might write,
(defflavor relativity-mixin () (moving-object))
(defmethod (relativity-mixin :mass) ()
  (/ mass (sqrt (- 1 (expt (/ (funcall-self ':speed)
but this would lose because any flavor that had @t(relativity-mixin)
as a component would get @t(moving-object) right after it in its
component list.  As a base flavor, @t(moving-object) should be last
in the list of components so that other components mixed in can replace
its methods and so that daemon methods combine in the right order.
@t(relativity-mixin) has no business changing the order in which flavors
are combined, which should be under the control of its caller, for example:
(defflavor starship ()
	   (relativity-mixin long-distance-mixin ship))
which puts @t(moving-object) last (inheriting it from @t(ship)).

So instead of the definition above we write,
(defflavor relativity-mixin () ()
	(:required-flavors moving-object))
which allows @t(relativity-mixin)'s methods to access @t(moving-object)
instance variables such as @t(mass) (the rest mass), but does not
specify any place for @t(moving-object) in the list of components.

It is very common to specify the @i(base flavor) of a mixin with the
@t(:required-flavors) option in this way.

The arguments are names of flavors to be included in this flavor.  The
difference between declaring flavors here and declaring them at the top of
the @t(defflavor) is that when component flavors are combined, if an
included flavor is not specified as a normal component, it is inserted into
the list of components immediately after the last component to include it.
Thus included flavors act like defaults.  The important thing is that if an
included flavor @i(is) specified as a component, its position in the list
of components is completely controlled by that specification, independently
of where the flavor that includes it appears in the list.

@t(:included-flavors) and @t(:required-flavors) are used in similar ways; it would
have been reasonable to use @t(:included-flavors) in the @t(relativity-mixin)
example above.  The difference is that when a flavor is required but not
given as a normal component, an error is signalled, but when a flavor is
included but not given as a normal component, it is automatically inserted
into the list of components at a "reasonable" place.

@t(:no-vanilla-flavor)@index(:no-vanilla-flavor). Normally when
a flavor is instantiated, the special flavor
@t(vanilla-flavor) is included automatically at the end of its list of
components.  The vanilla flavor provides some default methods for the
standard messages which all objects are supposed to understand.  These
include @t(:print-self), @t(:describe), @t(:which-operations), and several
other messages.  See the section on the vanilla-flavor.

If any component of a flavor specifies the @t(:no-vanilla-flavor) option,
then @t(vanilla-flavor) will not be included in that flavor.  This option
should not be used casually.

is mostly for esoteric internal system uses.
The arguments are names of instance variables which must appear first (and in this order)
in all instances of this flavor, or any flavor depending on this flavor.
This is used for instance variables which are specially known about by
microcode, and in connection with the @t(:outside-accessible-instance-variables)
option.  If the keyword is given alone, the arguments default to the list
of instance variables given at the top of this @t(defflavor).

@t(:outside-accessible-instance-variables)@index(:outside-accessible-instance-variables) takes as arguments some instance variables which are to be accessible from
"outside" of this object, that is from functions other than methods.  A
macro is defined which takes an object of this flavor as an argument and
returns the value of the instance variable; @t(setf) may be used to set the
value of the instance variable.  The name of the macro is the name of the
flavor concatenated with a hyphen and the name of the instance variable.
These macros are similar to the accessor macros created by @t(defstruct).

This feature works in two different ways, depending on whether the instance
variable has been declared to have a fixed slot in all instances, via the
@t(:ordered-instance-variables) option.

If the variable is not ordered, the position of its value cell in the
instance will have to be computed at run time.  This takes noticeable
time, although less than actually sending a message would take.  An
error will be signalled if the argument to the accessor macro is
not an instance or is an instance which does not have an instance
variable with the appropriate name.  However, there is no error check
that the flavor of the instance is the flavor the accessor macro was
defined for, or a flavor built upon that flavor.  This error check
would be too expensive.

If the variable is ordered, the compiler will compile a call to
the accessor macro into a subprimitive which simply accesses that
variable's assigned slot by number.  This subprimitive is only 3
or 4 times slower than @t(car).  The only error-checking
performed is to make sure that the argument is really an instance
and is really big enough to contain that slot.  There is no check
that the accessed slot really belongs to an instance variable of
the appropriate name.  Any functions that use these accessor macros will
have to be recompiled if the number or order of instance
variables in the flavor is changed.  The system will not
know automatically to do this recompilation.  If you aren't very careful,
you may forget to recompile something, and have a very
hard-to-find bug.  Because of this problem, and because using
these macros is less elegant than sending messages, the use of
this option is discouraged.  In any case the use of these accessor macros
should be confined to the module which owns the flavor, and the "general
public" should send messages.

Normally the accessor macro created by 
the @t(:outside-accessible-instance-variables) option
to access the flavor @i(f)'s instance variable @i(v) is 
named @i(f-v).  Specifying @t((:accessor-prefix get$)) 
would cause it to be named @t(get$@i(v)) instead.

@t(:method-combination)@index(:method-combination) declares the way
that methods from different flavors will be combined.
Each "argument" to this option is a list @t((@i(type order message1 message2)...)).
@i(Message1), @i(message2), etc. are names of messages whose methods
are to be combined in the declared fashion.  @i(type) is a keyword which
is a defined type of combination; see the section on method-combination.  
@i(Order) is a keyword whose interpretation is up to @i(type); typically it is
either @t(:base-flavor-first) or @t(:base-flavor-last).

Any component of a flavor may specify the type of method combination
to be used for a particular message.  If no component specifies a type
of method combination, then the default type is used, namely @t(:daemon).
If more than one component of a flavor specifies it, then they must
agree on the specification, or else an error is signalled.

@t(:documentation)@index(:documentation) takes documentation for the flavor
as arguments.  The list is remembered on the flavor's property
list as the @t(:documentation) property.  The (loose) standard for what can
be in this list is as follows; this may be extended in the future.  A string
is documentation on what the flavor is for; this may consist of a brief
overview in the first line, then several paragraphs of detailed documentation.
A symbol is one of the following keywords:

A @t(:mixin)@index(:mixin) is 
a flavor that you may want to mix with others to provide a useful feature.
An @t(:essential-mixin)@index(:essential-mixin)
is a flavor that must be mixed in to all flavors of its class, or inappropriate
behavior will ensue.
A @t(:lowlevel-mixin)@index(:lowlevel-mixin) is a 
mixin used only to build other mixins.
A @t(:combination)@index(:combination) is
a combination of flavors for a specific purpose.
A @t(:special-purpose)@index(:special-purpose) flavor is a 
flavor used for some internal or kludgey purpose by a particular program,
which is not intended for general use.

@chapter(Flavor Families)

@index(base-flavor)@index(mixin)@index(flavor families)

The following organization conventions are recommended for all programs that use flavors.

A @i(base flavor) is a flavor that defines a whole family of related
flavors, all of which will have that base flavor as one of their
components.  Typically the base flavor includes things relevant to the
whole family, such as instance variables, @t(:required-methods) and
declarations, default methods for certain messages, @t(:method-combination)
declarations, and documentation on the general protocols and conventions of
the family.  Some base flavors are complete and can be instantiated, but
most are not instantiatable and merely serve as a base upon which to build
other flavors.  The base flavor for the @i(foo) family is often named

A @i(mixin flavor) is a flavor that defines one particular feature of an object.
A mixin cannot be instantiated, because it is not a complete description.
Each module or feature of a program
is defined as a separate mixin; a usable flavor can be constructed by choosing
the mixins for the desired characteristics and combining them, along with the
appropriate base flavor.  By organizing your flavors this way, you keep separate
features in separate flavors, and you can pick and choose among them.
Sometimes the order of combining mixins does not matter,
but often it does, because the order of flavor combination controls the order
in which daemons are invoked and wrappers are wrapped.  Such order dependencies
would be documented as part of the conventions of the appropriate family of flavors.
A mixin flavor that provides the @i(mumble) feature is often named @i(mumble-mixin).

If you are writing a program that uses someone else's facility to do something,
using that facility's flavors and methods, your program might still define
its own flavors, in a simple way.  The facility might provide a base flavor and
a set of mixins, and the caller can combine these in various combinations depending
on exactly what it wants, since the facility probably would not provide all possible
useful combinations.  Even if your private flavor has exactly the
same components as a pre-existing flavor, it can still be useful since
you can use its @t(:default-init-plist) to
select options of its component flavors and you can define one or two methods
to customize it "just a little".

@chapter(Vanilla Flavor)@index(vanilla flavor)

The messages described in this section are a standard protocol which all
message-receiving objects are assumed to understand.  The standard methods
that implement this protocol are automatically supplied by the flavor
system unless the user specifically tells it not to do so.  These methods
are associated with the flavor @t(vanilla-flavor):

Unless you specify otherwise (with the @t(:no-vanilla-flavor) option to
@t(defflavor)), every flavor includes the "vanilla" flavor, which has no
instance variables but provides some basic useful methods.

@t(:print-self)@index(:print-self) @i(stream prindepth slashify-p)@>[Message]@*
The object should output its printed-representation to a stream.  The
printer sends this message when it encounters an instance or an entity.
The arguments are the stream, the current depth in list-structure (for
comparison with @t(prinlevel)), and whether slashification is enabled
(@t(prin1) vs @t(princ)).  Vanilla-flavor ignores
the last two arguments, and prints something like @t(#<@i(flavor-name
octal-address)>).  The @i(flavor-name) tells you what type of object
it is, and the @i(octal-address) allows you to tell different objects
apart (provided the garbage collector doesn't move them behind your back).

The object should describe itself, printing a description onto
the @t(standard-output) stream.  The @t(describe)
function sends this message when it encounters an instance or an entity.
Vanilla-flavor outputs the object, the name of its flavor, and the names
and values of its instance-variables, in a reasonable format.

The object should return a list of the messages it can handle.
Vanilla-flavor generates the list once per flavor and remembers it,
minimizing consing and compute-time.  If a new method is added, the
list is regenerated the next time someone asks for it.

@t(:operation-handled-p)@index(:operation-handled-p) @i(operation)@>[Message]@*
@i(operation) is a message name.  The object returns whether it has a 
handler for the specified message.

@t(:get-handler-for) @index(:get-handler-for)@i(operation)@>[Message]@*
@i(operation) is a message name.
The object should return the method it uses to handle @i(operation).
If it has no handler for that message, it should return @t(nil).
This is like the @t(get-handler-for) function,
but, of course, you can only use it on objects known to accept messages.

@t(:send-if-handles @index(:send-if-handles)message) &rest @i(args)@>[Message]@*
The object sends itself @i(message) with @i(args) @i(if) the object handles
@i(message), otherwise it just returns @t(nil).

@t(:unclaimed-message) @i(message) &rest @i(args)@>[Message]@*
If there is no method for @i(message) but there is a handler for
@t(:unclaimed-message), the handler is invoked with arguments @i(message)
and all of the @i(args).  This is just like @t(:default-handler), which
is an option to @t(defflavor).


@chapter(Method Combination)@index(method combination)

Methods can have a symbolic type, which is referred to by the particular
@i(method combination) defined for that method name.  The purpose of the method
combination is to produce a @i(combined method) which will handle the given
message.  It does this by ordering the methods that it finds in some manner and
wrapping invocations of them with various forms.  

@subheading(Basic Method Types)

@t(:primary) is the type of method produced when no type is given to defmethod.
Therefore, most combinations deal with it.

@t(:default) by convention takes the place of @t(:primary) methods if none
exist.  A base flavor can therefore define default handlers for various

@t(:wrapper) is used internally to remember wrappers.

@t(:whopper) is used internally to remember whoppers.

@t(:combined) is used internally to remember combined methods (so they can be

Other method types are only used with certain forms of combination.

@subheading(Predefined Combination Types)

One specifies a method combination with the :method-combination defflavor
option.  One specifies the name of the combination and possibly some other
information, which is usually either @t(:base-flavor-first) or

@t(:daemon :base-flavor-last) is the default form of combination.  All the
@t(:before) methods are called, then a single primary method (whose values are
returned by the send), then all the @t(:after) methods are called.  The
ordering argument to the combination affects the order of the :before and
:after daemons.

@t(:nconc) All the primary methods are called inside the appropriate form.

@t(:daemon-with-or) is like @t(:daemon), only the primary method may be
overridden by the @t(:or) method types.  The order of the @t(:or) methods is
controlled by the order argument to the @t(:method-combination) defflavor
option.  The combine dmethod looks something like this:


(progn (foo-before-method)
       (or (foo-or-method)


@t(:daemon-with-and) is like @t(:daemon-with-and), only @t(:and) methods are
wrapper in an @t(and) before the primary method.

@t(:daemon-with-override) is like @t(:daemon-with-or), only the @t(:override)
methods are wrapper in an @t(or) before everything else, including the before
and after daemons.


The most common form of combination is @t(:daemon).  One thing may not be
clear: when do you use a @t(:before) daemon and when do you use an @t(:after)
daemon?  In some cases the primary method performs a clearly-defined action and
the choice is obvious: @t(:before :launch-rocket) puts in the fuel, and
@t(:after :launch-rocket) turns on the radar tracking.

In other cases the choice can be less obvious.  Consider the @t(:init)
message, which is sent to a newly-created object.  To decide what kind
of daemon to use, we observe the order in which daemon methods are
called.  First the @t(:before) daemon of the highest level of
abstraction is called, then @t(:before) daemons of successively lower
levels of abstraction are called, and finally the @t(:before) daemon (if
any) of the base flavor is called.  Then the primary method is called.
After that, the @t(:after) daemon for the lowest level of abstraction is
called, followed by the @t(:after) daemons at successively higher levels
of abstraction.

Now, if there is no interaction among all these methods, if their
actions are completely orthogonal, then it doesn't matter whether you
use a @t(:before) daemon or an @t(:after) daemon.  It makes a difference
if there is some interaction.  The interaction we are talking about is
usually done through instance variables; in general, instance variables
are how the methods of different component flavors communicate with each
other.  In the case of the @t(:init) message, the @i(init-plist) can be
used as well.  The important thing to remember is that no method knows
beforehand which other flavors have been mixed in to form this flavor; a
method cannot make any assumptions about how this flavor has been
combined, and in what order the various components are mixed.

This means that when a @t(:before) daemon has run, it must assume that
none of the methods for this message have run yet.  But the @t(:after)
daemon knows that the @t(:before) daemon for each of the other flavors
has run.  So if one flavor wants to convey information to the other, the
first one should "transmit" the information in a @t(:before) daemon, and
the second one should "receive" it in an @t(:after) daemon.  So while
the @t(:before) daemons are run, information is "transmitted"; that is,
instance variables get set up.  Then, when the @t(:after) daemons are
run, they can look at the instance variables and act on their values.

In the case of the @t(:init) method, the @t(:before) daemons typically set up
instance variables of the object based on the init-plist, while the
@t(:after) daemons actually do things, relying on the fact that all of the
instance variables have been initialized by the time they are called.

Of course, since flavors are not hierarchically organized, the notion of
levels of abstraction is not strictly applicable.  However, it remains a
useful way of thinking about systems.