2 Quick Start

We start by jumping right into Dylan. We show how to interact with a development environment, to use basic arithmetic functions, to define variables and constants, and to create a simple but complete Dylan program.

The Dylan language does not specify a development environment, but many Dylan implementations provide one. A development environment can contain many tools, such as an editor custom-tailored for Dylan code, a browser that helps you to examine objects, a debugger, and a listener that enables you to type in expressions and to see their return values and output. You can use a listener to test pieces of your program without compiling the whole program. When you start using Dylan, a good way to learn and explore is to use a listener. We use a hypothetical listener in this chapter to show the results of evaluating Dylan expressions. Of course, Dylan also supports the traditional approach of editing source files, compiling the program, and running the program.