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Re: what is a light-weight language?

>>>>> "CB" == Christopher Barber <cbarber@curl.com> writes:

 >> 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.

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

[Offline for a week -- finally getting caught up with mail -- Greg]

"Lightweight Language" is an explicitly undefined term ;)  For the
record, I never really liked the term, but it seemed, by virtue of its
novelty if nothing else, better than the alternatives -- so we stuck
with it.

That said, the phrase "lightweight language" was vaguely intended as
Chris describes -- to focus on languages with a low barrier to entry.
To me this means that the time from first hearing of the language to
having written your first (toy) program in the language should be less
than half an hour.

Greg      gregs@ai.mit.edu (617)253-5807
Sullivan  http://www.ai.mit.edu/~gregs/