ORexx vs. Classic REXX and operator overloading 
Author Message
 ORexx vs. Classic REXX and operator overloading

My favorite summation of object-oriented languages in general, and
operator overloading in particular, comes in the form of a quote
from Harbison:

   "...  the ability to define your own operator functions
   [in C++] means that a simple statement such as x = a +
   b; in an inner loop might involve the sending of e-mail
   to Afghanistan."

As a former Computer Science student, from back when Comp Sci wasn't
just another name for "Unix and C trade school", I'm definitely a
Language Geek, and always interested in what's new.  But I have to agree
with Harbison and Marcus that object-oriented programming and Classic
REXX are at opposite extremes of the ease-of-use-for-the-layfolk scale.

Marcus and Rony both cite the KISS principle, but there was a much
brighter guiding light in the development of Classic REXX.  Many
features of Classic REXX fail the KISS test, including
infinite-precision arithmetic, the "school rules" evaluation of
expressions, and PARSE templates.  But Classic REXX has always operated
by the Principle of Least Astonishment, something I don't think anyone
can claim for ORexx.  Mike Cowlishaw phrased the PLA this way, in "The
REXX Language" (part 1, section 4, pp.  14):

   "Although users can be unwise in their suggestions,
   even those suggestions which appeared to be shallow
   were considered carefully since they often acted as
   pointers to deficiencies in the language or
   documentation.  The language has often been tuned to
   meet user expectations;  some of the desirable quirks
   of the language are a direct result of this necessary
   tuning."

Don't get me wrong, I believe ORexx is a good language, much more true
to the principles of object orientation than, say, C++.  But I also
agree with Marcus that ORexx is not the "type in your first program,
have it running in minutes, and be a convert for life" language that
Classic REXX is.  ORexx will have its adherents, just like any other
language, but I sincerely doubt we will see the same end-user reaction
as we've come to expect every time Classic REXX is introduced on a new
platform.

Ross Patterson
Sterling Software, Inc.
VM Software Division



Sun, 15 Nov 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 1 post ] 

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