Isn't it funny ... 
Author Message
 Isn't it funny ...

*** Warning - totally uninformed opinions follow ***

Isn't it funny that people always say things like:

XXXX would be a great programming language if
- there was a decent introductory text book.
- it had a decent interpreter/compiler.
- it had a decent *free* interpreter/compiler.
- the interpreter/compiler issued decent error messages.
- it was more/less interactive.
- it had a decent syntax-directed editor.
- it had decent libraries, or I/O, or graphics.
- it had/didn't have types.
- it had classes/inheritance/multiple inheritance/polymorphism/mixins, etc.
- it had a decent class browser.
- it used less resources.
- it ran on more platforms.
- it was more like English (or BASIC or COBOL).
- more (decent) people used it.

There are several conclusions you could draw:

0) Most programming languages are indecent. :-)

1) A great language requires a great development and execution environment.

Or maybe that should be:

1) With a great development and execution environment, who cares about the
   language?

2) A programming language isn't its specification.  It's the union of
   the grammar and the teachers and the textbooks and the classes and
   the compilers and the editors and the libraries and how the language
   is used.

3) Purity isn't enough.  You can program with NAND gates.
   The purpose of a programming languages is to map human mental models
   to machine constructs.  The easier and more accurate the mapping, the
   "better" the language.  Maybe a language that's unusable without a
   huge support environment isn't very usable.

--
Bob Bagwill
* not the opinions of anyone but myself *



Fri, 16 Oct 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Isn't it funny ...

[Robert Bagwill]

|   Maybe a language that's unusable without a huge support environment
|   isn't very usable.

do operating systems count as "huge support environments"?

--
reinvention is its own reward



Sat, 17 Oct 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Isn't it funny ...



Quote:
>[Robert Bagwill]
>|   Maybe a language that's unusable without a huge support environment
>|   isn't very usable.
>do operating systems count as "huge support environments"?

I suppose they do, if you want to use the same language for embedded
microprocessor applications as well as for regular applications on
multi-user, multi-processor operating systems.

But I wouldn't claim that the ideal language should be infinitely
scalable.  IMHO, it would be nice to be able to generate domain-specific
languages based a common, flexible, low-level language (like Scheme).
Of course, it would also be nice to be able to generate
application-specific OS's with just the features you want, too.

--
Bob Bagwill



Sat, 17 Oct 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 3 post ] 

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