|Re: simple vs complex languages Steve_Lipscombe@amat.com (2003-04-27)|
|Re: simple vs complex languages email@example.com (Ralph P. Boland) (2003-04-27)|
|Re: simple vs complex languages firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex McDonald) (2003-04-27)|
|Re: simple vs complex languages email@example.com (Basile STARYNKEVITCH) (2003-05-05)|
|Re: simple vs complex languages firstname.lastname@example.org (2003-05-05)|
|Re: simple vs complex languages email@example.com (Albert Hofkamp) (2003-05-06)|
|Re: simple vs complex languages Robert@Knighten.org (2003-05-06)|
|Re: simple vs complex languages firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Moore) (2003-05-06)|
|Re: simple vs complex languages email@example.com (2003-05-06)|
|[36 later articles]|
|From:||"Alex McDonald" <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||27 Apr 2003 17:13:35 -0400|
|Posted-Date:||27 Apr 2003 17:13:35 EDT|
> Robert wrote
> >The thing that bothers me about all this fancy parsing technology we
> >have developed over the past few decades is that it is solving an
> >artificial problem. If we didn't design our programming languages to
> >have such doggone complicated syntax, then we would be happy to use
> >hand-written recursive-descent parsers.
> And our moderator replied
> >[I don't see why it's artificial. Human languages have very complex
> >grammars. That's how we're wired to work. Why shouldn't computers
> >adapt to us for a change? -John]
> I'm with Robert on this one.
> If a language is designed with a simple, consistent syntax then it is
> not only easier for the compiler to parse, but (more importantly) it
> is easier for humans to understand and therefore easier to get
> right. Can you guess I like Pascal, which was designed from the outset
> for a single pass RDP?
> I'm no expert in these matters (then shut-up, they cried), but it
> seems to me that to express complex ideas we need a rich vocabulary,
> but not a complex syntax. And if not, then why do we do it?
Try Forth, a language that proves your point. Almost no syntax
whatever (RPN), and parsing is reduced to spotting the white space
between words. Complex words are expressed in terms of simpler words;
most Forths have a very few atomic words on which the rest are built.
> Finally, if you want to program in a human language, try parsing this old
> Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.
I can't resist my favourite:
"The only spectators were a woman holding a baby and a policeman."
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