|[14 earlier articles]|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler email@example.com (Gene Wirchenko) (2006-03-12)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler firstname.lastname@example.org (2014-10-24)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler email@example.com (2014-10-25)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler firstname.lastname@example.org (Derek M. Jones) (2014-10-25)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler email@example.com (Martin Ward) (2014-10-27)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler firstname.lastname@example.org (Kartik Agaram) (2014-10-27)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler email@example.com (Kaz Kylheku) (2014-10-27)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler firstname.lastname@example.org (Ivan Godard) (2014-10-27)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler email@example.com (Martin Ward) (2014-10-28)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler firstname.lastname@example.org (Stefan Monnier) (2014-10-28)|
|Re: reading and writing, was A Plain English Compiler email@example.com (Stefan Monnier) (2014-10-28)|
|Re: A Plain English Compiler DrDiettrich1@netscape.net (Hans-Peter Diettrich) (2014-10-29)|
|Fw: A Plain English Compiler firstname.lastname@example.org (Gerry Rzeppa) (2014-10-30)|
|[6 later articles]|
|From:||Kaz Kylheku <email@example.com>|
|Date:||Mon, 27 Oct 2014 21:45:42 +0000 (UTC)|
|Organization:||Aioe.org NNTP Server|
|References:||06-02-122 06-02-125 14-10-005 14-10-008 14-10-009|
|Keywords:||syntax, design, comment|
|Posted-Date:||28 Oct 2014 13:26:08 EDT|
On 2014-10-27, Kartik Agaram <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> John said (back in 2006) "You can certainly chop English down to
>> a small unambiguous subset, but then you've just reinvented Cobol"
>> As someone who has had to work with COBOL somewhat, it is interesting
>> to compare the two languages:
> Thanks for that detail! The discussion in 2006 seemed too dismissive of
> this idea, and I worried that this go-around would subside similarly.
> Comparing all attempts at english-like pidgins to cobol seems like a cheap
> and overly broad shot. Hopefully now we can have a more substantive
Compiling English to code isn't going to make programmers of those who
are unwilling, and especially unable, to learn a programming language.
They will only face additional struggles caused by ambiguities which
don't exist in ordinary programming languages.
Most people who are not endowed in the right way to be program
designers are also not endowed in the right way to handle precise
language, such as what is used when writing detailed requirements
specifications. In such language, many terms terms do not have their
ordinary meaning. The language might look like English, but it isn't.
A programming language which looks like English will suffer from the
same problem as the formal version of English used in very technical
documents. Those who don't absorb the special definitions of ordinary
terms, and the details semantics they entail, will not comprehend
properly what is going on, and will not wield that language
effectively to express solutions. Those who do understand will find
the language meddlesome.
People from the humanities will be dismayed at not being able to write
a sentence endowed with several simulaneous meanings, as they are used to.
"Gee, why doesn't the machine understand the metaphor which makes the poignant
irony come alive in what I just wrote ..."
[Man, there's a programming language I'd like to use.
Re COBOL, I am fairly sure that the point of making it look like stilted
English was not that they'd thought it'd make it easier to program, but
that it'd be possible for non-programmers, e.g. auditors, to look at the
code and figure out what it did. -John]
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