Reasons for rejecting Lisp (was Re: Newbie questions [Followup to comp.lang.lisp]) 
Author Message
 Reasons for rejecting Lisp (was Re: Newbie questions [Followup to comp.lang.lisp])

Quote:


> > It didn't bring down the whole application, I'll give you that. But
> > similar behaviour can be achieved with statically typed languages. The
> > point is that static typing can catch certain simple bugs ealier.

> I disagree that you can do this in practice in C++.  Have fun trying.
> Trimmed comp.ai.

If there is one thing that gets me up a tree when discussing
programming languages, it is this pretentious believe some people have
that some requirement, feature, or behaviour can only be achieved
using their favourite language.

Contrary to what you say, isolating failures is not at all difficult
to achieve in C++ or other mainstream languages. Of course, if you
only look at monolytic systems typically emanating from Redmond, then
you are sure to crash the whole system when something goes wrong. As
an example of where we are heading, consider distributed systems
(using CORBA and other technlogies). More and more systems are built
as collections of components where every component does one thing and
one thing only. And this isn't exactly new either: On certain
mainframe systems of the past it was commonplace to implement every
transaction type as a separate program.

Anyway, this is all besides the point. How did we get distracted into
this discussion? The topic was whether more static type checking in
Common Lisp implementations would be a worthwhile improvement or
not. Nobody, at least not me, was claiming that other languages are
better than Lisp.

Joachim

--




Mon, 22 Oct 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Reasons for rejecting Lisp (was Re: Newbie questions [Followup to comp.lang.lisp])

Quote:

> One of the major problems with C++ is that it requires static
> typechecking, which means that building generic functions requires
> the contortions of templates, which have taken years to settle down
> enough that compilers could coherently implement them.

Yes, and they are still not as flexible as they should be. There is a
lot of research going on in the area of virtual types and
genericity. Don't be surprised to see a revision of C++ templates in
the future, or the emergence of a new language. In fact, the
discussion about adding genericity to Java has prompted a lot of
activity in this area of research. The point with all this is that
languages that are alive tend to learn from experience and improve
over time. I could say something about dead languages but this would
have an undesired effect in this newsgroup :-)

Note: this last sentence was meant to be a joke! Keep in mind that I
am using Lisp myself.

Quote:
> Money talks; if the Lisp vendors figure out that they can make ten
> times as much (a decimal order of magnitude) in sales as a result of
> implementing this functionality, then I don't think they'll sit back
> on their haunches with some "religious" attitude about not doing it
> because they think it's a silly idea; they'll say:

> "Cool!  If we invest $100,000 paying a developer or two to add static
> type checking, and when our sales increase by an order of magnitude,
> from $10M to $100M, this $100K investment will pay off handsomely!"

I don't share your believe in the power of the market to lead us to
paradise. If the market had this power would Lisp be the fringe
language it is? Would Microsoft be the most successful software
company?

Quote:
> Feel free to believe whatever you want about the "order of
> magnitude" importance of static type checking.

Definitely.

Quote:
> If you lose credibility as a result of this belief, that's not my
> problem.

Indeed.

Joachim

--




Mon, 22 Oct 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Reasons for rejecting Lisp (was Re: Newbie questions [Followup to comp.lang.lisp])

Quote:

> [talking failure isolation]

> I didn't say it was impossible in C++, just very difficult, to the
> point where most people don't do it.  I don't hear you contradicting
> this point.

It is difficult only if you approach the design with the preconceived
notion that a system must be a single, monolytic program. But as I
said, my point wasn't to compare Lisp with C++. I was proposing
something that I consider an improvement for Lisp implementations (and
you are welcome to disagree). Even if Lisp is better than every other
programming language under the sun, we might still be able to improve
it, no?

Quote:
> Nuff said.

Yes.

Joachim

--




Mon, 22 Oct 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Reasons for rejecting Lisp (was Re: Newbie questions [Followup to comp.lang.lisp])

| If you did want to write a CL compiler in C, is there a formal grammar
| (LALR etc) out there somewhere.  I had a look and couldn't find one.

  you won't find one, either.  formal grammars are useful for languages
  that are designed to be unreadable and with constructs designed to be
  impossible to represent at run-time.  Lisp is designed to be readable and
  source code to be representable at run-time, and so have a very different
  way of thinking about its grammar.  considering that all you will ever do
  with a grammar is associate the first element of a list (a symbol) with a
  rule for dealing with the rest of the list, you might as well design the
  whole system using a recursive descent "parser".

  Common Lisp's syntax is designed to be LL(1), and objects are read in
  their entirety before any semantics are associated with them, quite
  unlike languages designed to keep the sources unreadable to programs
  written in those languages.

#:Erik



Mon, 22 Oct 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Reasons for rejecting Lisp (was Re: Newbie questions [Followup to comp.lang.lisp])

CMUCL alows you to specify types, and I imagine that the commercial
compilers do as well.  Just because it is not specified in ANSI
does not mean that it does not exist in most implementations... but
it would be nice if it were specified.

        Gavin E. Gleason



Mon, 22 Oct 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Reasons for rejecting Lisp (was Re: Newbie questions [Followup to comp.lang.lisp])
On Thu, 06 May 1999 15:53:46 GMT, Bagheera, the jungle scout

Quote:





>> >I would say your software engineering process is broken in this case,

>> Welcome to the real world.  The only time I've ever seen an office
>> where the programmers had all the time they needed for designing,
>> documenting, debugging and other 'engineering' process tasks was in a
>> government job.  But then I work in the games industry which is
>> entertainment after all - flakiness and ego are expected to be main
>> ingredients of both management and engineering here.  Not that I'm
>> complaining - for one thing I fit right in :)

>must've been a good govt. job.
>I've been working for the government for several years now
>and I've only had 1 position where your situation held true.
>But that was a group filled with young, idealistic, crusading
>programmers that had little control enforced over them from
>management.  Maybe the younger generation just knows a better
>way of getting the work done?

>In general, though, all the jobs I have had have been flaky, with ego
>maniacal managers and leads.  I find this kind of atmosphere too
>difficult to be productive in.  Chaos begets chaos.

Two caveats:
1. I didn't say WHICH government.  The department was Agriculture
Canada.
2. The manager I met was a flaky, ego maniacal man who insisted on
meticulous software engineering.  But the only reason he could get
away with all he did (he was having programmer reinvent the wheel and
be WAY too fancy instead of buying off the shelf packages) was that he
didn't have to turn a profit.

Joshua Scholar



Mon, 22 Oct 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Reasons for rejecting Lisp (was Re: Newbie questions [Followup to comp.lang.lisp])


Quote:
> Now in my work (game programming) I don't really have a choice, I more
> or less have to use C++.  

By the way, the Web site of Franz Inc. http://www.franz.com/ mentions that
their Common Lisp system is being used also for game development. The site
provides information about a couple such projects.

Paolo
--



Mon, 22 Oct 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Reasons for rejecting Lisp (was Re: Newbie questions [Followup to comp.lang.lisp])

Quote:

> Hmm. If you did want to write a CL compiler in C, is there a formal grammar
> (LALR etc) out there somewhere. I had a look and couldn't find one.

Given the complexity of the Common Lisp reader, and it's flexibility
(reader macros, read-time evaluation, etc.), I strongly doubt that any
parser generator will be able to handle this task out of the box. Of
course I haven't tried to do this, so I might be mistaken... ;)

Regs, Pierre.

--

  "One smaller motivation which, in part, stems from altruism is Microsoft-
   bashing." [Microsoft memo, see http://www.opensource.org/halloween1.html]



Tue, 23 Oct 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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