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The Art of the Metaobject Protocol Paperback – July 30, 1991


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The Art of the Metaobject Protocol + Object-Oriented Programming in COMMON LISP: A Programmer's Guide to CLOS + Purely Functional Data Structures
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (July 30, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262610744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262610742
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #723,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This book details the meta-object protocol, the framework on which the Common Lisp object system (CLOS) is based. The philosophy behind the meta-object protocol is that different applications may require different kinds of object models, and so the object model itself should be subject to program control. The Art of the Meta-Object Protocol provides a wonderful working example of how Lisp can be extended and how it can evolve to incorporate new language constructs. First, the book describes how CLOS is actually implemented by working through a subset. Then it goes on to develop the meta- object protocol in great detail. The Art of the Meta-Object Protocol is useful for the advanced CLOS user as well as for anyone interested in object-oriented programming and language design.

About the Author

Gregor Kiczales is a Member of the Research Staff in the System Sciences Laboratory at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

Jim des Rivières is a Member of the Research Staff in the System Sciences Laboratory at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

Daniel G. Bobrow is a Research Fellow in the Intelligent Systems Laboratory, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence, and Chair of the Governing Board of the Cognitive Science Society.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Christopher B. Browne on March 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
As a presentation of how to implement the Metaobject Protocol, this is about as authoritative a presentation of CLOS as can exist, short of being a formal (dry!) standards document.
Unfortunately, it falls way short in motivating the USE of the MOP. It shows how it is implemented, and has some examples of how to modify its behaviour. Which is wonderfully useful if your interest is in building your own implementation of MOP. It is not nearly so useful if you're trying to figure out how to apply it to less extraordinary purposes.
To that end, Keene's book on CLOS, which demonstrates quite a number of usage examples, is a vital companion...
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By T. Foley on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Although I am mostly a C/C++ programmer, I still found this book to be an interesting read. If you, like me, have an interest in programming language design and implementation I highly recommend it. As other reviewers have noted, however, the book has little material for Lisp programmers who just want to use the MOP without looking under the hood. I don't consider this a shortcoming - understanding the design and implementation of your language and tools helps in using them effectively.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Robert Braddock on January 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
This was a disappointing purchase for me, as I read some of the book on-line (in CMU-CL's "Encycmuclopedia") and was rather stunned at the beauty and possibilities of the MOP (which, in short, is defining the core object system itself in terms of the object system, allowing you to use the full power of the object system class hierarchy/relationships to control your object semantics). The book is a pretty straight forward implentation discussion, which is certainly nice as a case study in implementing such an interrelated system and boot-strapping the MOP into use, but it is only that. The MOP is one of those perfect ideas with such vast potential that I would much rather have seen actual expressions of that potential instead of mere inner working details. If I'd know that, I would not have bought it--but then neither will I be selling my copy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By terry.west@cybersafe.com on November 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is the first so far to completely discuss the mechanisms of the Metaobject Protocol. This is an advanced treatment and will be of value to the experienced Lisp programmer. The book covers all aspects of the MOP in great detail and when the reader has finished it, he or she will be very comfortable with CLOS mechanisms, and even more importantly, why these features have been implemented in the ways that they have.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Noah Gibbs on October 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is powerful, but it's also dense and takes a lot of work to read.

I'm a Ruby guy with a lot of metaprogramming experience... So to me this feels "obscured", but only because the vocabulary and conventions have changed a lot in 20 years. I don't think you *could* have explained these concepts better 20 years ago.

It's powerful to see all the reasoning behind this -- in some ways it boils down to inheritance and hooks for the basic object-oriented processes themselves (slot and method inheritance order, generic method lookup). But it's nice to see a very different structure for this than, say, Ruby takes.
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