Fw: A Plain English Compiler

"Gerry Rzeppa" <gerry.rzeppa@pobox.com>
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:02:27 -0500

          From comp.compilers

Related articles
[2 earlier articles]
Re: A Plain English Compiler gerry.rzeppa@pobox.com (2014-10-24)
Re: A Plain English Compiler martin@gkc.org.uk (Martin Ward) (2014-10-27)
Re: A Plain English Compiler ak@akkartik.com (Kartik Agaram) (2014-10-27)
Re: A Plain English Compiler kaz@kylheku.com (Kaz Kylheku) (2014-10-27)
Re: A Plain English Compiler DrDiettrich1@netscape.net (Hans-Peter Diettrich) (2014-10-29)
Fw: A Plain English Compiler gerry.rzeppa@pobox.com (Gerry Rzeppa) (2014-10-30)
Fw: A Plain English Compiler gerry.rzeppa@pobox.com (Gerry Rzeppa) (2014-10-30)
| List of all articles for this month |

From: "Gerry Rzeppa" <gerry.rzeppa@pobox.com>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:02:27 -0500
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 06-02-122 06-02-125 14-10-005 14-10-008 14-10-009 14-10-010 14-10-015
Keywords: design
Posted-Date: 30 Oct 2014 15:53:14 EDT

Hans-Peter Diettrich asks, *who* is the intended writer
of a program in that English language?


(1) Experienced programmers like my son and I who like to program in
English, and who had a lot of fun writing an integrated development
environment -- including an iconoclastic interface, a simplified file
manager, an elegant text editor, a hexadecimal dumper, a
native-code-generating compiler/linker, and a wysiwyg page layout program
for documentation -- in just 25,000 lines of the stuff.

(2) Kids who know nothing about programming. Here, for example, is a typical
first program we have our padawans type in, a little at a time, when we're
teaching them about the subject:

To run:
Start this baby up.
Clear the whole freaking screen.
Draw some circles with the red pen.
Wait for the escape key.
Shut the whole thing down.

To draw some circles with a color:
Pick a spot anywhere on the screen.
Draw a circle on the spot with the color.
Refresh the screen.
Add 1 to a count.
If the count is greater than 12, break.

At intervals, they use the "Run" command -- which is conveniently placed
under the "R" menu -- to see the results. Note that since syntax isn't a
major issue, we can concentrate on concepts (sequence, loops, variables,
parameters, etc) -- while improving their typing skills and reinforcing what
they're learning in their grammar classes!

(3) All kinds of students in between. Remember, our entire system is written
in Plain English. So the enterprising student who begins with a program like
the one above can eventually learn how to write all kinds of programs --
including desktop interfaces, file managers, text editors, dumpers,
compilers, page layout programs, and many more -- without ever leaving the
simple and familiar Plain English environment.

(4) To be determined. We're not sure, at this stage of the game, what other
kinds of people will find programming in their native tongue (with snippets
of formulas and graphics inserted in appropriate spots) both productive and
enjoyable. It depends, we think, primarily on the different kinds of Plain
English libraries we can provide (or get others to provide) to support
various application areas. Note that it's in the libraries -- not the
compiler itself -- that the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and various modes of
expression are defined.

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