[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: succinctness = power

Quoting Fredrik Lundh <fredrik@pythonware.com>:

> michael wrote:
> > This is why I don't like the word "succinctness"; most people think
> it
> > means syntactic succinctness e.g. like in the obfuscated C code con-
> > tests.
> quoting merriam-webster:
>     CONCISE suggests the removal of all that is super-
>     fluous or elaborative. TERSE implies pointed concise-
>     ness. SUCCINCT implies the greatest possible com-
>     pression.
> given this definition, does anyone still think that a programming
> language designed for human beings should aim for the greatest
> possible compression?
> laconically yrs /F

Given this definition, no... but this definition is inaccurate, 
because 'succinct' doesn't imply the *greatest* compression; rather, it implies 
compression.  The unabridged webster says:

  Compressed into a narrow compass; brief; concise.

More importantly, this is the way it's used in everyday speech, and I'm sure 
Paul intended this graded meaning of the word rather using it for extremes.  
But, I'm neither a lexicographer nor a mind reader so I could be wrong.

Succinctness does help solve the language goal of reducing complexity.  The SIP 
web page mentions the 'number of elements' of the program as a size metric, and 
I'd argue that this in addition to the combination of these elements serves as 
a good complexity metric.  So, I'd say languages *should* aim for a 
succinctness that reduces the size (and consequently the complexity) of 
programs without hindering their expressiveness.


Jeffrey Palm --> http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~jdp