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Re: learning languages [Was: Re: Y Store now C++]

   Sundar Narasimhan wrote:

   > Why are languages viewed as all or nothing deals.. why don't they have
   > a gradual light-dark setting (to (ab)use Dan's Toaster analogy) that
   > could help people learn them. Are people thinking about changing the
   > "interface" such programming language work-products present to the
   > target market?

   DrScheme is a step in this direction.  We recognized that textbooks do
   not present languages as all-or-nothing deals, so why should
   programming languages?  We therefore built a series of language
   "levels" that grow semantically more complex.  In the more restrictive
   language levels, the environment can place certain restrictions that
   catch errors sooner.  (For instance, in a language level without
   first-class functions, certain syntactic patterns that would be
   syntactically legal but lead to erroneous programs in full Scheme can
   be rejected statically.)

   Many of the institutions that use DrScheme employ language levels; a
   few are, however, too proud to do so.

Hi, Shriram: Thanks for the pointer, will look it up. As a parent,
these sorts of issues have become very interesting to me of late :)