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Re: Diversity - existence, value, and pursuit.

> Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001 01:30:58 -0500
> From: Mitchell N Charity <mcharity@lcs.mit.edu>
> Often overlooked are education research's big 4 results of (1) people
> have deeply varied internal representations and cognitive strategies,
> (2) thus the effectiveness of particular information presentation
> strategies varies greatly among users, with global optimums generally
> non-existent, (3) teachers pervasively overrate the success of their
> favorite strategies with their students, and (4) ignoring observations
> 1 thru 3 is very popular, and robustly so.

Which is why, in my Ideal Programming Environment (TM), the choice of
syntax would be up to the user.  For instance, you could say "I like scheme
semantics, but I'd prefer python/java/C/whatever syntax, for reasons deeply
buried in my subconscious or based on my problem domain".  I would say
fine, use the syntax you're happy with.  I have yet to see a language that
truly supports multiple syntaxes, although it's a stated (unrealized) goal
of Guile scheme.  If this were realized, the best and worst cases would be:

worst: Every user has his/her own private syntax, and nobody can read
       anybody else's code.

best:  After an initial period of confusion, a few "canonical" syntaxes
       develop which are each adopted by a large pool of users (e.g. scheme
       syntax, pythonish syntax, c-ish, etc.).  All can be translated into
       each other, and the syntaxes all are translated into some base
       representation (e.g. S-expressions).  Projects can even mix modules
       using different syntaxes, since the underlying semantics are the

I see no reason why this couldn't be done.