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RE: what is a light-weight language?

> So, the big question that didn't actually get addressed at the LL
> conference: what is the criterion (or what are the criteria) for
> distinguishing between a "lightweight" language and other kinds of
> languages?
> The one thing that's clear is that lightweight languages are good and
> non-lightweight languages are bad.  Maybe that's the definition? :-)
> It's not clear to me that "having a read-eval-print loop" has
> something to do with the "weight" of a language.  Or that having
> lexical scoping is a "weight" thing.  I'm also not sure whether
> "weight" is more a property of the language definition in the abstract
> as opposed to a property of a particular implementation.

I doubt that we will ever come up with a non-fuzzy definition of the term,
but I feel that it refers to how much effort it takes to use the language.
In other words, how much baggage to you have to pick up to do your work in
that language.

Using that sense, features like a REPL or lexical scoping could be factors
that make a language easier to use.  The former because it encourages
interactive experimentation, and the latter because it is deemed more
intuitive.  I don't think that the existence of any particular feature will
determine whether a language is "lightweight", but there might be some
features that would exclude a language, such as lack of dynamic typing.

- Christopher