2004 Edition Free and Open Source Software Developer's European Meeting


2003-12-21 - Dominique Colnet


An interview conducted by Alain Buret
FOSDEM - First and traditional question : Please present yourself ...

Dominique Colnet - Dominique Colnet, I am professor at the University of Nancy 2 in France, I am the author of "SmartEiffel The GNU Eiffel Compiler, Tools and Libraries".

FOSDEM - How did you start working on SmartEiffel ?

Dominique Colnet - Actually, in 1990, we decided to use Eiffel in our school ( as the first programming language. Eiffel is now still used in the school and the new Eiffel definition is even better than the 90's one. I have started to write the very first free Eiffel compiler in 1994. The original goal was to experiment dynamic type prediction and dynamic binding implementation.

We got very good results and we are keeping up the work ( SmartEiffel is now a mature software not only useful for teaching.

FOSDEM - What would you say to someone to persuade him/her to use SmartEiffel instead of another scripting language ?

Dominique Colnet - Eiffel is not a scripting language. Eiffel is designed to make quality software. It is very difficult to persuade people to change of programming language but Eiffel has many advantages. Eiffel is really object-oriented even for very basic objects like integers or even booleans. Eiffel is statically typed (i.e. the program is really checked at compile time).
Eiffel promotes design by contracts. The last point is really important to make team-work easier and to be able to reach the very best performances at run-time.

FOSDEM - What about bindings ?

Dominique Colnet - Bindings ? Yes, it is possible to call foreign language code from Eiffel (or to call Eiffel code from another language) ... if this is the question.

FOSDEM - Introduce in few words what you're going to talk about during your presentation ...

Dominique Colnet - I will present the Eiffel language, especially design by contract. I will try to present a simple example to explain why/how design by contract is really important.

FOSDEM - What are you expecting from your talk at FOSDEM and from the interactions with other developers present at the event ?

Dominique Colnet - May be, just to explain that Eiffel is not only a tower in Paris, but that Eiffel is also a very good programming language to write quality software !


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