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Introduction -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sather is an object oriented language designed to be simple efficient safe and non-proprietary It aims to meet the needs of modern research groups and to foster the development of a large freely available high-quality library of efficient well-written classes for a wide variety of computational tasks It was originally based on Eiffel but now incorporates ideas and approaches from several languages One way of placing it in the space of languages is to say that it attempts to be as efficient as C C or Fortran as elegant but safer than Eiffel or CLU and to support higher-order functions as well as Common Lisp Scheme or Smalltalk Sather has garbage collection statically-checked strong contravariant typing multiple inheritance separate implementation and type inheritance parameterized classes dynamic dispatch iteration abstraction higher-order routines and iters exception handling assertions preconditions postconditions and class invariants Sather code can be compiled into C code and can efficiently link with object files of other languages pSather the parallel and distributed extension presents a shared memory abstraction to the programmer while allowing explicit placement of data and threads Sather and the ICSI Sather compiler have a very unrestrictive license aimed at encouraging contribution to the public library without precluding the use of Sather for proprietary projects This chapter will provide a basic introduction for new users pointing to sources of information about the language and the compiler It also contains a summary of Sather features - for those familiar with another object-oriented language this section provides an overview of the key features of Sather 11 Acknowledgements This text has its roots in the Sather 11 specification the Eclectic tutorial and Holgers iterator tutorial This document also contains several organizational ideas and some text from S Omohundros originally planned Sather book This text has benefitted from corrections comments and suggestions from several people including Cary D Renzema Jerome Feldman Claudio Fleiner
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