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OOC Library Overview

This part of the manual describes the OOC library, and provides a reference as to the use of these facilities with the OOC compiler.

The Oberon-2 programming language does not provide built-in facilities for performing common operations such as input/output, string manipulation, mathematical functions and so forth. These facilities are instead implemented in library modules. As such, much of learning about a new Oberon-2 compiler, such as OOC, is discovering how to use those library facilities.

The designers of the OOC library have attempted to make all modules as easy to use and understand as possible. Module definitions can be viewed with the browser that comes with the OOC compiler; this is an easy way to see what facilities are available in each module.

However, module definitions are generally not sufficient for a good understanding of all facilities. This manual provides a more comprehensive guide to the OOC library. As with all Oberon-2 modules, library modules must always be imported before they can be used within a client module.


The only available standard for Oberon-2 is described in The Oakwood Guildlines for Oberon-2 Compiler Developers, which will be referred to subsiquently as Oakwood. The Oakwood library does not provide the kind of functionality that OOC's designers wished to provide. However, because Oakwood is the only available standard, these modules have been provided in the OOC library. The names of the Oakwood modules for OOC all begin with "Oak" (e.g., OakIn, OakOut).

The OOC library also provides replacements for Oakwood modules that contain expanded functionality. That is, OOC provides modules In, Out, Files, and so forth.

Also, in order to provide consistency, the OOC library attempts to follow these naming conventions:

Names for              Start with              Examples
Constants, variables   Lower-case noun         version, wordSize
                       Lower-case adjective    full
Types                  Upper-case noun         File, TextFrame
Procedures             Upper-case verb         WriteString
Functions              Upper-case noun         Position
                       Upper-case adjective    Empty, Equal
Modules                Upper-case noun         Files, TextFrames

Definition of Terms

Standard Oberon-2 terminology closely follows "conventional" programming practices. The Oberon-2 language report describes things using words like procedure and type. Special object-oriented (OO) terms like class and method aren't typically used by the Oberon community. These OO ideas can be described using various combinations of conventional terms; for instance, extensible record or type-bound procedure.

But it isn't always convenient to use these conventional terms; the object-oriented terms are often more concise and handier to use. Also, there are notable distinctions in the OOC library between modules that provide things like a collection of mathematical functions (that operate on existing types) and true extensible abstract data types (e.g., channels and riders). For these reasons, this section defines how certain terms are to be used throughout the rest of this manual.

A data type is a simple Oberon-2 type declaration. It may be any type whose internal structure is of no importance to the user, or an alias type that declares an alias name for a basic type like INTEGER.

A record is a normal Oberon-2 record type declaration. It generally can be used directly to define variables. Operations on records (i.e., procedures) are declared external to the type (e.g., SysClock.DateTime see section Module SysClock)

A class differs from normal records in that they are extensible and their operations are implemented as type-bound procedures. These are usually declared as a pointer plus record combination and the two types should be considered as a single class. Generally, it is pointless to create a variable of the record type--you can't use it; its contents are undefined.

A method is simply another term for a type-bound procedure.

An object is an instance of a class (i.e., a variable whose type is a class).

An abstract class serves as a pattern from which other classes can be derived. Abstract classes provide an interface, but no implementation (or perhaps a partial implementation). They can never be used to create objects; rather, they must be extended to form concrete subclasses that inherit the interface and then go on to complete the implementation. Abstract classes ensure a consistent design for their subclasses.

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