> < ^ Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1992 14:10:55 +0200
> < ^ From: Steve Linton <sal@dcs.st-and.ac.uk >
> ^ Subject: Various suggestions

The forum has been very quiet lately, so I thought I'd raise
a few suggestions that have occurred to me recently.

1) It would be nice to be able to access the operating system
environment from GAP. A function Getenv(string) perhaps and/or
an array Environment of pairs of strings.

2) ITIt would be nice to have a structure that behaved like a
hash-table or a PERL associative array. This would enable
general Orbit algorithms to go MUCH faster. More generally
Aho, Hopcraft and Ulmann (Design and Analysis...) has a nice
general description of 'dictionaries' in terms of which
operations can be carried out quickly. A set of constructs
implementing these would be extremely useful.

3) Especially on PCs (I don't know about STs) repeated use of
AppendTo is very slow as the file has to be closed and the
directory updated between each call. It would be nice to
have fopen, fread/write and fclose -like calls using some
sort of file handle.

4) It would be nice to be able to control the level of
printing when entering a break loop. When the progran is in a
recursive procedure or something I often loose the piece of information
I want off the end of the traceback.

5) Also for debugging purposes, it would be nice to be able to
look past a local variable at a 'hidden' variable of the same
name in an outer scope. Either some way of saying 'The global x'
and the 'the x belonging to procedure foobar' (though what happens
if foobar is recursed 8 levels deep?) or of saying 'The x in the
scope outside this one'.

6) Possibly the read-eval-print loop should suppress or abbreviate
the printing of very long results.

Anyway, what do other people think about these ideas?


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