Tycho - A Heterogeneous Syntax Manager

Researchers: Edward A. Lee
Christopher Hylands
Advisor:Edward A. Lee

Tycho is an object-oriented syntax manager with an underlying heterogeneous technical rationale. The Ptolemy software system, which has been under development at U.C. Berkeley since 1990, addresses the problem of mixing "models of computation", or semantic models. The Tycho software system, under development since 1995 as a part of the Ptolemy project, addresses the problem of mixing syntactic models. For example, while Ptolemy can support mixtures of discrete-event and dataflow modeling, Tycho can support mixtures of textual and graphical syntaxes.

Tycho provides a number of editors and graphical widgets in an extensible, reusable framework. The editors for textual syntaxes are modeled after emacs in the sense the emacs key bindings are used when possible. However, they make more extensive use of menus, windows, and visualization tools will be fully integrated, something that would be difficult to accomplish with emacs in its current form. Editors for visual syntaxes will be more diverse. The system documentation is integrated, using a hypertext system compatible with the worldwide web. Tycho has been designed primarily for use with the Ptolemy system, but it is also useful on its own.

Tycho is written primarily in Itcl, also called [incr Tcl], developed by by Michael McLennan of AT&T. Itcl is an object-oriented extension of Tcl, a "tool command language" written by John Ousterhout of U.C. Berkeley. The X-window toolkit Tk and its object-oriented extension Itk are also used extensively. Tycho has been used extensively in the development of the Tycho software itself.