Glossary

abstract class
A class that cannot be instantiated. Usually used to contain common predicates that are inherited by other classes.
abstract method
A method implementing an algorithm whose step corresponds to calls to methods defined in the descendants of the object (or category) containing it.
adapter file
A Prolog source file defining a minimal abstraction layer between the Logtalk compiler/runtime and a specific backend Prolog compiler.
ancestor
A class or a parent prototype that contributes (via inheritance) to the definition of an object. For class-based hierarchies, the ancestors of an instance are its class(es) and all the superclasses of its class(es). For prototype-based hierarchies, the ancestors of a prototype are its parent(s) and the ancestors of its parent(s).
built-in method
A predefined method that can be called from within any object or category. Built-in methods cannot be redefined.
built-in predicate
A predefined predicate that can be called from anywhere. Built-in predicates can be redefined within objects and categories.
category
A set of predicates directives and clauses that can be (virtually) imported by any object. Categories support composing objects using fine-grained units of code reuse and also hot patching of existing objects. A category should be functionally-cohesive, defining a single functionality.
class
An object that specializes another object, interpreted as its superclass. Classes define the common predicates of a set of objects that instantiates it. An object can also be interpreted as a class when it instantiates itself.
closed-world assumption
The assumption that what cannot be proved true is false. Therefore, sending a message corresponding to a declared but not defined predicate, or calling a declared predicate with no clauses, fails. But messages or calls to undeclared predicates generate an error.
coinductive predicate
A predicate whose calls are proved using greatest fixed point semantics. Coinductive predicates allows reasoning about infinite rational entities such as cyclic terms and ω-automata.
complementing category
A category used for hot patching an existing object (or a set of objects).
directive
A source file term that affects the interpretation of source code. Directives use the (:-)/1 prefix operator as functor.
doclet file
A source file whose main purpose is to generate documentation for e.g. a library or an application.
doclet object
An object specifying the steps necessary to (re)generate the API documentation for a project. See the doclet and lgtdoc tools for details.
dynamic binding
Runtime lookup of a predicate declaration and definition to verify the validity of a message (or a super call) and find the predicate definition that will be used to answer the message (or the super call). Also known as late binding. See also static binding.
encapsulation
The hiding of an object implementation. This promotes software reuse by isolating the object clients from its implementation details. Encapsulation is enforced in Logtalk by using predicate scope directives.
entity
Generic name for Logtalk compilation units: objects, categories, and protocols. Entities share a single namespace (i.e. entity identifiers must be unique).
entity directive
A directive that affects how Logtalk entities (objects, categories, or protocols) are used or compiled.
event
The sending of a message to an object. An event can be expressed as an ordered tuple: (Event, Object, Message, Sender). Logtalk distinguish between the sending of a message — before event — and the return of control to the sender — after event.
grammar rule
An alternative notation for predicates used to parse or generate sentences on some language. This notation hides the arguments used to pass the sequences of tokens being processed, thus simplifying the representation of grammars. Grammar rules are represented using as functor the infix operator (-->)/2 instead of the (:-)/2 operator used with predicate clauses.
grammar rule non-terminal
A syntactic category of words or phrases. A non-terminal is identified by its non-terminal indicator, i.e. by its name and number of arguments using the notation Name//Arity.
grammar rule terminal
A word or basic symbol of a language.
hook object
An object, implementing the expanding built-in protocol, defining term- and goal-expansion predicates, used in the compilation of Logtalk or Prolog source files. A hook object can be specified using the hook compiler flag. It can also be specified using a set_logtalk_flag/2 directive in the source files to be expanded.
hot patching
The act of fixing entity directives and predicates or adding new entity directives and predicates to loaded entities in a running application without requiring access to the entities source code or restarting the application.
identity
Property of an entity that distinguishes it from every other entity. Object and category identifiers can be atoms or compound terms. Protocol identities must be atoms. All Logtalk entities (objects, protocols, and categories) share the same namespace.
inheritance
An entity inherits predicate directives and clauses from related entities. In the particular case of objects, when an object extends other object, we have prototype-based inheritance. When an object specializes or instantiates another object, we have class-based inheritance.
instance
An object that instantiates another object, interpreted as its class.
instantiation
The process of creating a new class instance. In Logtalk, this does not necessarily imply dynamic creation of an object at runtime; an instance may also be defined as a static object in a source file.
lambda expression
A compound term that can be used in place of a goal or closure meta-argument and that abstracts a predicate definition by listing its variables and a callable term that implements the definition. Lambda expressions help avoiding the need of naming and defining auxiliary predicates.
lambda free variable
A variable that is global to a lambda expression. All used global variables must be explicitly listed in a lambda expression.
lambda parameter
A term (usually a variable or a non-ground compound term) that is local to a lambda expression. All lambda parameters must be explicitly enumerated in a lambda expression.
library
A directory containing source files. The library name can be used as an alias to the directory path when compiling and loading source files using the notation library_name('source_file_relative_path'). Library names and their paths are defined using the logtalk_library_path/2 predicate.
loader file
A source file whose main purpose is to load a set of source files.
local predicate
A predicate that is defined in an object (or in a category) but that is not listed in a scope directive. These predicates behave like private predicates but are invisible to the reflection built-in methods. Local predicates are usually auxiliary predicates and only relevant to the entity where they are defined.
message
A query sent to an object. In logical terms, a message can be seen as a request for proof construction using an object database and the databases of related entities.
message to self
A message sent to the object that received the original message under processing. Messages to self require dynamic binding as the value of self is only know at runtime.
meta-argument
A predicate argument that is called as a goal, used as a closure to construct a goal that will be called, or that is handled in a way that requires awareness of the predicate calling context.
meta-interpreter
A program capable of running other programs written in the same language.
meta-predicate
A predicate with one or more meta-arguments. For example, call/1-N and findall/3 are built-in meta-predicates.
metaclass
The class of a class, when interpreted as an instance. Metaclass instances are themselves classes.
method
The predicate definition used to answer a message sent to an object. Logtalk supports both static binding and dynamic binding to find which method to run to answer a message.
module
A Prolog entity characterized by an identity and a set of predicate directives and clauses. Prolog modules are usually static although some Prolog systems allow the creation of dynamic modules at runtime. Prolog modules can be seen as prototypes.
monitor
Any object, implementing the monitoring built-in protocol, that is notified by the runtime when a spied event occurs. The spied events can be set by the monitor itself or by any other object.
multifile predicate
A predicate whose clauses can be defined in multiple entities. The object or category holding the directive without an entity prefix qualifying the predicate holds the multifile predicate primary declaration, which consists of both a scope directive and a multifile/1 directive for the predicate.
object
An entity characterized by an identity and a set of predicate directives and clauses. Logtalk objects can be either static or dynamic. Logtalk objects can play the role of classes, instances, or prototypes. The role or roles an object plays are a function of its relations with other objects.
object database
The set of predicates locally defined inside an object.
parameter
An argument of a parametric object or a parametric category identifier. Parameters are logical variables implicitly shared by all the entity predicate clauses.
parameter variable
A variable used as parameter in a parametric object or a parametric category using the syntax _VariableName_. Occurrences of parameter variables in entity clauses are implicitly unified with the corresponding entity parameters.
parametric category
See parametric entity.
parametric entity
An object or category whose identifier is a compound term containing free variables that can be used to parameterize the entity predicates. Parameters are logical variables implicitly shared by all the entity clauses.
parametric object
See parametric entity.
parametric object proxy
A compound term (usually represented as a plain Prolog fact) with the same name and number of arguments as the identifier of a parametric object.
parent
A prototype that is extended by another prototype.
predicate
Predicates describe what is true about the application domain. A predicate is identified by its predicate indicator, i.e. by its name and number of arguments using the notation Name/Arity.
predicate alias
An alternative functor (Name/Arity) for a predicate. Predicate aliases can be defined for any inherited predicate using the alias/2 directive and for predicates listed in uses/2 and use_module directives. Predicate aliases can be used to solve inheritance conflicts and to improve code clarity by using alternative names that are more meaningful in the calling context.
predicate directive
A directive that affects how predicates are called or compiled.
predicate scope container
The object that inherits a predicate declaration from an imported category or an implemented protocol.
predicate scope directive
A directive that declares a predicate by specifying its visibility (public, protected, or private).
primary predicate declaration
See multifile predicate.
private inheritance
All public and protected predicates are inherited as private predicates.
private predicate
A predicate that can only be called from the object that contains the scope directive.
profiler
A program that collects data about other program performance.
protected inheritance
All public predicates are inherited as protected. No change for protected or private predicates.
protected predicate
A predicate that can only be called from the object containing the scope directive or from an object that inherits the predicate.
protocol
An entity that contains predicate declarations. A predicate is declared using a scope directive. It may be further specified by additional predicate directives. Protocols support the separation between interface and implementation, can be implemented by both objects and categories, and can be extended by other protocols. A protocol should be functionally-cohesive, specifying a single functionality.
prototype
A self-describing object that may extend or be extended by other objects. An object with no instantiation or specialization relations with other objects is always interpreted as a prototype.
public inheritance
All inherited predicates maintain their declared scope.
public predicate
A predicate that can be called from any object.
self
The object that received the message under processing.
sender
An object that sends a message to other object. When a message is sent from within a category, the sender is the object importing the category.
settings file
A source file, compiled and loaded at Logtalk startup, mainly defining default values for compiler flags that override the defaults found on the backend Prolog compiler adapter files.
singleton method
A method defined in an instance itself. Singleton methods are supported in Logtalk and can also be found in other object-oriented programming languages.
source file
A text file defining Logtalk and/or Prolog code. Multiple Logtalk entities may be defined in a single source file. Plain rolog code may be intermixed with Logtalk entity definitions.
source file directive
A directive that affects how a source file is compiled.
specialization
A class is specialized by defining a new class that inherit its predicates and possibly add new ones.
static binding
Compile time lookup of a predicate declaration and definition when compiling a message sending call (or a super call). Dynamic binding is used whenever static binding is not possible (e.g. due to the predicate being dynamic or due to lack of enough information). Also known as early binding. See also dynamic binding.
subclass
A class that is a specialization, direct or indirectly, of another class.
super call
Call of an inherited (or imported) predicate definition. Mainly used when redefining an inherited (or imported) predicate to call the overridden definition while making additional calls. Super calls preserve self and may require dynamic binding if the predicate is dynamic.
superclass
A class from which another class is a specialization (directly or indirectly via another class).
synchronized predicate
A synchronized predicate is protected by a mutex ensuring that, in a multi-threaded application, it can only be called by a single thread at a time.
template method
See abstract method.
tester file
A source file whose main purpose is to load and a run a set of unit tests.
this
The object that contains the predicate clause under execution. When the predicate clause is contained in a category, this is a reference to the object importing the category for which the predicate clause is being executed.
threaded engine
A computing thread running a goal whose solutions can be lazily and concurrently computed and retrieved. A threaded engine also supports a term queue that allows passing arbitrary terms to the engine. This queue can be used to pass e.g. data and new goals to the engine.
visible predicate
A predicate that is within scope, a locally defined predicate, a built-in method, a Logtalk built-in predicate, or a Prolog built-in predicate.