As already mentioned, object definitions are expanded to Prolog clauses much as definite clause grammars. This expansion is usually transparent to the user. While debugging a SICStus Objects program, however, the expanded representation may become exposed. This section will explain in detail the source expansion, so as to give the user the possibility to relate back to the source code during a debugging session. The inheritance mechanism, based on module importation, is also described.
First of all, every statically defined object will translate to several Prolog clauses belonging to a unique object module with the same identity as the object-identifier. Object modules are significantly cheaper to create than ordinary modules, as they do not import built-in predicates.
The module will contain predicates implementing an object declaration, the method code, imported methods and parameter transfer predicates. These predicates will be described in detail below, using the notational convention that variable names in italics are syntactic variables that will be replaced by something else in the translation process.